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Apple silences rumors
Apple on Monday evening silenced circulating rumors by saying that consumers should not expect updates to its product lineup before the end of the year. Outting to rest earlier rumors of pending updates to its iMac and Mac mini product lines, the company says it allow its Mac mini models to languish a bit longer and allow its aluminum iMac lineup to age a few more months. Though its mainstream desktop line has aged more than six months (and its Mac mini much longer), Apple said it would not release updates to any of its products before the holidays.
Ocula plug ins for Nuke 5
The Foundry has released Ocula, a set of plug-in utilities for Nuke 5.1 that assist with editing stereoscopic imagery. The software replicates processes on the left and right channels to help users enhance material. Disparity-mapping algorithms are used to analyze spacial positioning differences and movement between pixels between the left and right cameras. Ocula then applies warping, stretching, or squeezing effects to the areas that need correction.
Helius has launched MediaAuthor 2.0, the latest version of its Microsoft PowerPoint plug-in for creating digital signage content for small to medium size businesses. The update now allows users to work from templates, create video playlists, stream live sports, insert RSS or weather feeds, then instantly publish the presentation from PowerPoint to display screens. After a template is opened, users can add graphics, text, animations, along with imported or recorded audio tracks.
CoffeeBreak 1.0 for iPhone
TweakerSoft has launched CoffeeBreak 1.0, an iPhone app that uses the iPhone's GPS to track surrounding coffee shops. The app pinpoints stores on a map, and can direct the user to either the nearest or a preferred location. Eight major brands plus alternative coffee shops are tracked, and the app can either save locations to Contacts or e-mail them to friends and family.
Belkin FlyThru case
Belkin has introduced the FlyThru notebook case, designed for air travel. The case is compliant with TSA checkpoint standards, which permit agents to view a device through a clear window instead of taking it out of a bag. Travelers need only unzip the FlyThru and place it flat on a screening belt. Polyester is utilized for the outer protection, while a softer tricot material lines the inside. The accessory pockets are designed to retain items even when the case is lain flat.
GizFever Nano case
GizFever has launched its iPod nano 4G Silicone Case II, an ergonomic design that surrounds a player and shapes itself to a user's fingers. The case is available in black, pink and white, and has cutouts for the Nano's ports. Also present is a built-in belt loop. The case is shipping now for $10.
Lost Cavern goes final
Coladia has at last launched the final version of Secret of the Lost Cavern, a prehistoric adventure game for the Mac, following an earlier demo release in September. The game is set in the Paleolithic period around 15,000 BCE, sending gamers on a quest with a mentor and other companions as they work to both survive and recreate the paintings of the Lascaux Caves. The game features authentic historical data from the period, and 3D renderings.
iPhone crash bug spotted
Piergiorgio Zambrini -- creator of the iPhone jailbreaking tool Ziphone -- claims to have found a bug that can crash the phone along with a variety of other Apple devices, according to Forbes. The bug exists in the audio portion of Apple's video format, and can be exploited to crash the system when attempting to play a video file containing malicious code. The vulnerable code library is common to Apple operating systems and several Linux systems.
Wine Collector 300 ships
IntelliScanner has launched its Wine Collector 300, a scanner for creating wine databases. The portable device reads the barcodes on bottles of wine, and tracks information like names, wineries, countries, types, colors and regions, allowing the user to gather information on numerous bottles found in different locations. When the scanner is plugged in to a Mac, bundled software calculates ideal maturity periods for the gathered bottles and prints detailed reports.
Marware Touch/iPhone cases
Marware has announced two new cases, the Eco-Vue for iPod touch 2G, and the Game Grip for both the Touch and the iPhone. The Eco-Vue is a new case made from cornstarch polymers and lined with recycled polyester, providing a leather look and feel. It is designed to protect corners, edges and surfaces, while also providing port and volume button access. Bundled in the package is a clear screen protector. It is available for pre-order now at a cost of $30.
Amazon revamps packaging
Online retailer Amazon on Wednesday announced it will launch what it calls Frustration-Free Packaging in an effort to help customers free their newly purchased products from their packages. The first products Amazon will focus on include ones enclosed in hard plastic clamshell cases and ones secured with plastic-coated wire ties. In the US, 19 products with such packaging will begin shipping from partnering manufacturers that include Fisher-Price, Mattel, Microsoft and Transcend. Not only will the new packaging ease the pains of getting products out, it will also be easier on the environment, as there will be less of it.
MacBook trackpad problems
The glass trackpad and display hinge found in the new aluminum MacBooks have been problematic for some owners, prompting Apple to investigate, according to AppleInsider. The trackpad allegedly fails to detect clicks occasionally when pressed; as one user has described the malfunction, "You hear and feel the click -- it just doesn't register the click." The owner also complains about the lack of friction in the lid hinge, which allows the notebook to close itself when the screen is placed at an acute angle.
ASUS intros B80A notebook
Over the weekend, ASUS introduced a new flagship notebook to its line-up, the 14.1-inch B80A. Buyers will be able to pick from a choice of four Intel Core 2 Duo processors, with clock speeds that include 2GHz, 2.16GHz, 2.4GHz, and 2.5GHz. While 1GB of RAM is standard, it can be optioned up to 4GB. The B80A will support a fast 7,200RPM SATA hard disk drive that can be found in a desktop PC, with an optional 250GB HDD. Otherwise, there are 5,400RPM SATA drives available in 160GB, 250GB and 320GB capacities. For wireless connectivity, a Draft-N Bluetooth connection is built-in.
FMDC 2009 registration
FileMaker has announced that early registration is open for its 2009 FileMaker Developer Conference, scheduled for August 13th to the 19th in San Francisco. Through January 31st, 2009, early registrars will get a $300 discount. The hotel also has a limited number of group-rate rooms, available while they last.
Roku to bring Netflix HD
Roku representatives have responded to rumors on its online forum board regarding when it will launch streaming HD services and announced, earlier than they'd like, that it will team up with Netflix to bring HD content to its subscribers. Compared to the recently announced Xbox and Netflix tie-up that will also see streaming HD content to the Xbox, Roku will use different Advanced Profile encoding to deliver the HD content at significantly lower bit-rates.
Firethorn banking app
AT&T, in collaboration with Firethorn Holdings, has released Mobile Banking for the iPhone. Users can access their financial information or initiate transactions; the former includes account balances and history, as well as other facts like earned interest rates. Access requires entering a PIN number. In handling transactions the program can be used to pay bills or transfer funds, while monitoring multiple accounts held at any of the supported financial institutions.
ASUS intros Eee Tops
ASUS has recently posted up official product pages of its upcoming Eee Top-series desktop PCs, the ET1602 and ET1603. The main difference between the two is the latter's use of an ATI Mobility Radeon HD3450 graphics card instead of the former's onboard Intel chipset paired with ASUS' Splendid Video Intelligence Technology for video processing. Aside from this, both share a 15.6-inch LCD touchscreen with a 16:9 aspect ratio, a 1.6GHz Intel Atom processor and 1GB of RAM. Windows XP will be pre-loaded onto the 160GB hard disk drive, along with Eee Cinema, ASUS' multimedia center software. Wireless network access comes via an 802.11n Wi-Fi module.
PowerBook memory lawsuit
Apple artificially limited the scope of a repair program for defective PowerBooks, a new class-action lawsuit alleges. Filed by Giorgio Gometsky via northern California, the suit makes reference to a problem with the PowerBook G4, in which memory added to the computer went unrecognized, thereby depriving people of performance or generating additional problems. "Unfortunately for consumers," the suit notes, "because both memory slots are hardwired to the PowerBook's motherboard, consumers who choose to repair the defect can incur costs of more than $500 in parts and labor."
BBerry Pearl Flip Rogers
Rogers today became the second North American carrier to pick up the BlackBerry Pearl Flip. The clamshell carries the same updated BlackBerry OS, two-megapixel camera and EDGE data of the stock Flip but takes advantage of its built-in Wi-Fi for Rogers' TalkSpot calling service, which like T-Mobile's HotSpot@Home bridges calls between GSM and Wi-Fi to save on calling time or to improve reception indoors. As always, the short-range wireless also serves as a faster alternative to EDGE for data.
Panasonic to buy Sanyo?
A weekend report reveals a Japanese newspaper and news agency are reporting electronics maker Panasonic may buy majority stake in Sanyo Electric before 2009. While the news is unofficial, Sanyo has made a statement saying it is considering options of selling its preferred stock shares but is yet to make a decision. Panasonic's press release, meanwhile, simply reads the company has not made such an announcement, but nothing was yet decided in regards to the rumored purchase, confirming the two companies are in talks.
Dash quits hardware builds
Dash Navigation announced on Monday that it will cease making it Dash Express GPS navigation devices for cars that include Web 2.0 services as part of a bigger company move to change its business model from a consumer-focused one to a business-to-business orientation. The company will instead sell licenses for use of its platform to other makers of automobile on-board navigation systems, smartphones and mobile Internet devices (MIDs), among other electronics. Earlier this summer, the company halved prices of its navigation units, which the company launched started selling near the beginning of the year for about $600.
Core i7 Early Tests
First tests of Intel's new Core i7 processors released today are showing what's billed as "historic" speed increases over earlier Intel architecture. Benchmarks of the range-topping, 3.2GHz Core i7 Extreme along with the X58 mainboard neeed to support the chip show it surpassing even workstation-class Xeon processors, which are often Intel's fastest. In Geekbench for Windows, the quad-core i7 part reached a 7998 score, or about 7.7 percent higher than a dual-socket Xeon server.
Apple, Psystar set date
An advance out-of-court settlement in the dispute between Apple and Psystar is now unlikely to happen, filings show. The two companies have been involved in a process called Alternative Dispute Resolution, designed to avoid the time and cost of a court battle; both corporations are recently, however, said to have asked a judge to authorize a proposed court schedule, in which fact discovery would end in late June of next year, and a trial would be set for November 9th. Actual dates could vary substantially.
Sea Flags for iPhone
Izatt International has unveiled Sea Flags, an app for the iPhone or iPod touch that helps users learn the Maritime Signal Flags system. The program includes all 26 flags that are displayed on a reference screen and can be tapped to fill the screen. For use as a teaching aide, the flags can be presented as full screen flash cards in a random order, eventually showing the corresponding English letter after a chosen time. Users can also enter a word to see how it's flagged.
Xchange ships new tools
XChange International has launched three new products for the prepress and design markets. The new add-ons are the Permanent Press filter for Photoshop and Quark XTensions MadeToPrint XT and BigPicture XT. The Permanent Press filter allows users to create vintage offset printing effects from a design, photograph or type treatment.
Fiwi, Chipmunk, Witch
iTunes Dupe Barrier 1.2.3 ($10) allows users to search through their iTunes and iPod song databases to find duplicate songs. The update has fixed several bugs including incompatibilities with iTunes 8. [Download - 2.1MB]
Fingerspell, 1600 Recipes
Edgewise ($2) is a solitaire card game that is played with a standard 52 card deck. The object is to arrange all the face cards around the edges of the playing field. Each game takes only a few minutes meaning the game is great for passing time waiting in line or for a call.
Fido Makeover Soon
Canadian cell carrier Fido is poised for an overhaul that will change its role in the market, a claim by purported sources of the Financial Post says. Under this new strategy, the Rogers sub-brand would more closely compete with Telus' Koodo, Bell's Solo and Virgin Mobile with an emphasis on lower-cost plans and a wider selection of phones than today's selection, which is partly a subset of Rogers' own lineup. Among other changes, the controversial $7 System Access Fee would be dropped to reduce the practical monthly rate.
Photomatix Pro 3 1 update
HDRsoft has released the latest version of its High Dynamic Range (HDR) photography software, Photomatix Pro 3.1. The program now offers automatic chromatic aberration and noise reduction in HDR images. A Lightroom Export plug-in has been added, allowing integration with Adobe's photography software. Photomatix is designed to create HDR images by blending multiple photographs that were taken with different exposures.
Stock Spy 1.6 available
Stock-Spy.com has released an update, Stock Spy 1.6, to its stock market news analysis software. New to v1.6 is a revamped stock news list, which now allows instantaneous news display. Also added are highlighted ad hoc filters in the news list as they are typed and autoloading of all available news articles when the user moves to chart a stock.
Isis Locus announced
Isis Imaging has released Isis Locus, a software solution for creating duotones for print or proofing. Locus can create duotones on a two-color press and generate a fifth image for a five-color press. It also can create a fifth-color overlay for color control, similar to a photo correction filter. The software requires the user to pick a color from a match-color chart, and then generates a duotone, with support for custom color adjustments. It also features an ink opacity slider to enhance the accuracy of proofs.
Samsung shows LCD fridge
Samsung on Monday announced it has released the RFG299 French Door Refrigerator with a 7-inch touchscreen LCD that not only allows users to control the refrigerator's temperature or monitor its water filter status, but also access integrated calendars, schedules, photos, nutrition facts and unit conversions. Apart from the built-in gadget, the fridge has the largest capacity of any standard-sized refrigerator with a French door design, at 28.5 cubic feet, Samsung claims. The company achieved a 14 percent bump in capacity compared to its older French door design by using high-rate urethane insulation technology to reduce the wall thickness.
ACTCurrency 1.5 ships
Houdah Software has launched a major update of its currency converter for the iPhone, ACTCurrency 1.5. The new version adds support for automatic downloading of over 150 world currencies, up from 30 in the previous version. It now also displays the full name of the currency, and the date of the last exchange rate update. The app converts in both directions automatically as a user types in numbers.
Verizon axeing cheap data?
Verizon may soon force its smartphone customers to spend more on data than has previously been required, an alleged leak indicates. A document states that as of November 14th, buyers of smartphones (and PDAs) will be expected to subscribe to a data plan worth at least $30 per month. This would eliminate several options the carrier currently supports, including a 10MB block, and the Pay As You Go plans, which enable incremental data charges.
iPhone production down
Apple's production of the iPhone may have fallen by 40 percent or more for the fourth quarter of the year, according to an analyst with Friedman Billings Ramsey. Craig Berger notes that the information is based on "recent checks," which suggest a radical drop in factory output, as compared to a 10 percent slide that had been predicted. A similar cut is said to have happened in the first quarter of the year, but other accounts have suggested this was planned in anticipation of the iPhone 3G.
Win 7 and Win Mo 7 Bundle
Microsoft is allegedly planning to launch Windows 7 in the fall with a mobile bundle to drive sales, a rumor from the Register notes. Cellular retailer Carphone Warehouse is reportedly in the early stages of a deal for September or October next year that would give users both a copy of Windows 7 upon its launch as well as a free smartphone using Windows Mobile 7, which is also anticipated during the same year.
Nokia N96 Official for US
Nokia has started its week with the official launch of the N96 in the US. The black handset is the company's range-topping media phone and comes with both dedicated media controls on its two-way slider as well as 16GB of built-in storage and a microSDHC card slot to boost its storage further. It lacks support for the DVB-H TV tuner from Europe but continues to carry a five-megapixel camera with flash, true GPS, Wi-Fi and dual-band HSPA-based 3G that supplies faster mobile Internet access when on AT&T.
Sprint adds Eclipse X
Sprint on Monday announced the addition of a new handset to its range, with the Katana Eclipse X flip-phone. The main change from the original Katana Eclipse handset includes Sprint's One Click interface that allows users to customize their home screen with one-touch access to their most often used applications. The Katana X also sports lighting effects that users can assign to certain callers, alerts and incoming messages.
Vista up, Mac down in brow
Windows' online presence increased during the month of October at the expense of the Mac, new figures from Net Applications indicate. In tracking the prevalence of operating systems online, the company has determined that Windows' marketshare rose 0.19 percent to hit 90.46 in October, as a result of a 5.24 percent increase in the use of Windows Vista. Mac OS X's share in fact fell 0.24 percent during the month to reach 8.21, and while iPhone usage has continued growth and sits at 0.33 percent, the rate of expansion dropped to 3.12 percent versus the 6.67 percent achieved in September.
Alienware M17 Quad Core
After a short teaser campaign, Alienware has revealed an upgrade to its M17 desktop replacement notebook that boosts its all-around performance. The 17-inch system can now go quad-core and has the option of a 2.53GHz Core 2 Extreme for those gamers who would prefer multi-thread performance over sheer clock speed; a 2.26GHz Core 2 Quad is also an option for less demanding tasks.
BBerry Storm Voda Friday
Vodafone UK's version of the BlackBerry Storm could beat Verizon's model to launch by a week or more, a tip sent to Pocket-lint suggests. Third-party reseller Phones4U claims it should start taking pre-orders for the touchscreen BlackBerry as early as Tuesday and will start shipping the device on Friday, substantially ahead of the November 16th date widely rumored for Verizon. Phones4U is reportedly the only third-party UK retailer allowed to sell the Storm outside of Vodafone.
Samsung T Omnia Phone
Samsung today stepped up the quality of its flagship smartphone with the launch of the T*Omnia. A major upgrade to the original model released just in mid-year, the new version carries a slightly larger 3.3-inch LCD but with a much higher 800x480 resolution versus the earlier 400x200. The extra resolution helps both with Windows Mobile as well as with a new DMB TV tuner that gives it over-the-air digital TV in its native Korea. The size has increased slightly to fit the new display and hardware.
iMac, Mac mini refreshes?
Anticipated refreshes of the iMac and Mac mini could happen as early as next week, according to anonymous sources. Described only as "persistent," the sources say that an announcement is scheduled for November 10th, rather than Macworld, Apple's next confirmed publicity event in January. The primary reasoning is said to be Mac Pro, which is also due for an update, but which may not have enough chips ready for mass production. The Pro will instead take the place of the iMac and Mini at Macworld, two of the sources suggest, in exchange providing more holiday sales of the latter systems.
Navigon launches two PNDs
Navigon on Wednesday announced the release of the 5100 max personal navigation devices, spotted earlier this month at the FCC, along with the 2090S. Both units sport Navigon's newest software that can generate routes quicker and makes entering information faster and easier thanks to the company's SmartSpeller software. The 5100 max uses a 4.3-inch touchscreen display with a 16:9 aspect ratio that will display real-time traffic updates. Buyers get these updates for the life of the unit without having to pay any additional subscription fees or having to buy additional hardware.
Circuit City Closes 155
Circuit City today confirmed a drastic step to save its retail business and says it will shutter 155 of its stores across the US as well as renegotiate its store licenses and curb its launches for new stores. The move leaves 566 stores and is said to target those locations that were unprofitable, particularly after marketing was involved. The shutdown takes effect quickly and will see closeout sales as early as November 5th.
Apple's next move in terms of MacBooks will be to add built-in 3G connectivity, says analyst Neil Mawston of Strategy Analytics. Mawston contends it is a "logical next step" for Apple, and that the technology could be added to the Pro, Air, and/or regular notebooks. The incentive would be not so much outstanding demand, as the ability of carriers in the US and Europe to sell Macs to people who have already been lured to a phone network by the iPhone.
WD TV HD Media Player
Western Digital on Monday took its own turn at media hubs by introducing the HD TV Media Player. In place of using a network connection, the company is taking advantage of its skill with external storage to let users locally transfer content: users can attach up to two USB hard drives, certain portable media players or other devices (including the company's MyBook drives) and browse the contents of the drive with an on-screen menu and a bundled remote.
Shareholders Sue Sirius XM
A group of "incensed shareholders" calling itself Save Sirius today said it was suing Sirius XM over allegedly profiteering at the expense of investors. The lawsuit, filed in a California Central District, Southern Division court, accuses the satellite radio provider of violating RICO anti-racketeering laws and the Sherman antitrust act through decisions relating to the Sirius and XM merger only completed earlier this year.
LG and MS Win Mobile Deal
LG and Microsoft this morning said they have both signed a Memorandum of Understanding for a strategic link between the two companies in mobile devices. The deal will see the two companies team up in research and development of devices as well as the creation of apps, devices, and marketing campaigns. LG makes clear that the deal centers around Windows Mobile and will take advantage of Microsoft's software experience.
Combine PDFs v 4
MonkeyBread Software has released the latest version of its PDF utility, Combine PDFs 4.0. The update features a new Quartz filter menu, support for file encryption, and metadata transfer. The software can be used to combine several PDF files, allowing users to drop documents or pictures into the application or main window. Users can also reorder and remove pages, or edit the metadata information such as file title.
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