Toon Boom has released its latest vector-based animation software, Toon Boom Animate, that includes a variety of tools for content creation, animation, and delivery to audiences. Users can create tradigital and bitmap animations, or combine elements of both. Multiple brush tools, textures, and gradients can be used to further develop particular styles. The software also offers morphing, inverse kinematics, and a set of common special effects for advanced projects.
Gefen has introduced the A/V Scaler Pro, a device that up-converts video signals to 1080p while offering integrated audio amplification. Users can connect a variety of sources, including HDTV televisions, set-top boxes, gaming consoles, DVD players, computers, and more. The input is converted to HDMI with embedded and coaxial/optical audio output. The devices combines a frame rate conversion engine, 3-D motion adaptive de-interlacers, color engine, and dual scaling engines.
Griffin Technology has announced updated versions of its TuneBuds Mobile and SmartTalk devices for the iPhone, iPod nano 4G, Touch 4G, and Classic 120GB. Both products now feature inline microphones for communication or voice recording. The TuneBuds Mobile earphones include several sizes of washable ear cushions. The ControlMic button allows users to answer iPhone calls or send them to voice-mail in Phone mode, while offering play, skip, and pause controls for music tracks.
Orange France is rumored to be reducing its iPhone 3G prices to 100€ (~$125 USD) for the 8GB model and 130€ (~$165 USD) for the 16GB variant, according to a post on the French Mac enthusiast site MacBidouille. The change is claimed to happen on November 13th, and would make the devices significantly cheaper than the US market offerings. Presumably the prices represent the two-year contract prices, dropping from the current 150€ and 200€ tags for the 8GB and 16GB phones, respectively.
MacPractice has launched its MacPractice Kiosk Interface with signature pad (link is temporarily inactive) for the company's MacPractice MD, MacPractice DDS, MacPracticeDC and MacPractice 20/20 medical software. The kiosk is a customizable paperless solution for medical personnel to take registrations, health histories, consent forms and other medical records electronically with electronic signature support. The interface synchronizes with other MacPractice software, sending signed and filled forms from the kiosk Mac to the Electronic Medical Record (EMR) or Electronic Dental Record (EDR) in MacPractice MD or DDS.
Sesame Workshop has expanded the distribution of "Sesame Street" to the Internet, with content now available on iTunes, Hulu and YouTube. The 35th season is currently available from iTunes, with each episode priced at $2, and additional seasons to be available in the future. Viewers can also access hundreds of select clips on YouTube, or clips and longer segments available on Hulu. The programming is full of celebrity guests, such as B.B King, Natalie Portman, Neil Patrick Harris, Whoopi Goldberg, Norah Jones, and Christopher Reeve.
The growth of Mac market share is having some pleasant side effects -- especially for software. Instead of just releasing ported Windows versions, the economics of scale has made it practical for some developers to rewrite their titles to take advantage of Mac OS X features and ease of use. Intuit has made that investment in QuickBooks 2009, and the result is a much more "Mac-like" application. Simplicity is the key, the company says, and a host of new features have been added to reduce the learning curve for the venerable small business accounting application.
Apple has released the latest update to iLife Support, version 8.3.1, which addresses several security vulnerabilities that existed in the imageIO framework. Memory initialization has been corrected, and image validation improved, preventing application failure or arbitrary code execution when viewing TIFF images that contain malicious code. Processing of TIFF images has also been changed to avoid a memory corruption problem that could cause similar problems.
Mophie has introduced its latest accessory for the iPhone 3G, the Juice Pack 3G battery extender. The device features a lithium polymer battery that is claimed to offer an additional 350 hours of standby time, 6 hours of 3G talk time, 12 hours of 2G talk time, and 6-7 hours of internet use. Rather than drain the internal phone batteries before switching to alternative power, the pack drains the external supply first. The charge status is displayed with four integrated LEDs located on the back panel.
The President of ReignCom, the company behind the iRiver brand known for personal media players, has recently announced that iRiver will bring its first handset to market by March of 2009. Due to be carried by Korean wireless provider KTF, the handset will include a large touchscreen display capable of recognizing handwriting, a Wi-Fi module for wireless network access and access to Bugs Music Service. As is typical of Korean handsets, a few dictionaries are also included in the handset.
Viewsonic has unveiled two eight-inch digital photo frames, the DPG801BK and DPG807BK. Both devices feature SwifTouch touch-screen technology that only illuminates the control buttons when touched. Users can keep JPEG or BMP images in the 512MB integrated storage, insert a memory card into the six-in-one reader, or directly connect devices to a USB port. The TFT LCD screen supports resolution up to 800 by 600 pixels, with a contrast ratio of 500:1.
Gigawiz has released Aabel 3, an update to its statistics and exploratory data analysis, graphing and mapping software. The new version adds K-means clustering, Shapiro-Wilk tests for normality, Hartley's Fmax test, Bartlett's chi-Square test, plus ANOVA (Extended Analysis of Variance) and new multiple comparisons tests. Over 30 other statistical tests are incorporated as well, with new statistical and multivariate analysis methods, new graphing types and capabilities, and new data tools. It also features an overhauled interface for graph customization, and adds 3D plotting options.
AT&T on Monday announced the launch of a public beta version of its VideoCrawler web application that lets users search, organize and share online videos and other multimedia content. Supported by banner advertising, the service is free to users. It uses an indexing process to categorize millions of video clips from thousands of host sites, letting users enter search terms that narrow down the results accordingly. Users can save favourites as collections and share them with selected groups via VideoCrawler or on their pages on popular social networking sites via VideoCrawler's widgets.
AMD is expected to announce a new CPU as soon as this week that is meant for use in netbook PCs, as per a Monday report. With the new CPU, the chipmaker wants to address two key issues, namely battery life and video performance. AMD's VP of Advanced Marketing, Par Moorehead, promises between 8 and 9 hours of battery life out of a netbook utilizing the company's CPU, instead of the sub-two-hour lifespan he has personally experienced from an unnamed, top-rung netbook.
Developer Apeer has announced a Mac port of its Professional collaboration utility, currently available only for PCs. The software is a corporate tool, meant to allow workers and executives to talk with with each other, as well as clients and business partners. It operates within a single window, and permits sharing music, photos and video via a drag-and-drop interface, with protection via encryption and additional support for browsing PDF documents.
Ghost 1.1 (free) provides users with a simple way to create or view hidden files. By dragging and dropping files or folders into the applications window then selecting either hide or unhide. The update now prevents users from hiding their hard drives, which cannot simply be unhidden. The application now quits when the last window is closed and other various bugs have been addressed. [Download -
iRobot, a company specializing in developing and manufacturing house-cleaning devices, has recently teamed up with Disney to release a limited-edition version of its Roomba 530 robot with special WALL-E paint and graphics. Unlike the special editions of the cleaning devices introduced this summer, the WALL-E edition does not have features that distinguish it from the standard Roomba 530 model. The battery will last long enough to clean three rooms, and two wall transmitters help guide the robot in its cleaning mission.
Seagate on Monday announced it has teamed up with virus-protection software developer McAfee to develop its self-encrypting notebook PC hard drives from its Momentus Full Disk Encryption (FDE) line, in both 7200RPM and 5400RPM versions. Both are now available in 320GB capacities, or the highest of any FDE drive on the market, and Seagate promises to introduce even larger, 500GB versions soon.
The United States' 44th President will be a Mac user, as President-Elect Barack Obama and his children have been revealed as having two MacBooks for personal use. Newsweek notes that Michelle Obama, the soon-to-be First Lady, recently purchased the two MacBooks so Barack and his two daughters can video-chat while he is on the road, something likely to be frequent in his new position.
Notebook and desktop PC maker Acer is considering releasing an efficient, entry-level compact desk-top PC early in 2009, according to a Monday report. Computer parts providers believe the PC will offer Intel's Atom CPU as an option due to higher-than-expected sales of the company's Aspire One netbooks, which use the Intel chip. The sales goal stands at between 12 and 13 million. Acer is reportedly looking to use CPUs from VIA Technologies or AMD, the latter (pictured) providing a 2.1GHz Phenom X3 CPU in the company's Aspire X3200 desktop.
2Wire has recently introduced its MediaPoint set-top box that is designed to deliver HD video content via a broadband connection. The MediaPoint will offer remote access options, allowing users to control its functions over the web, and connects to home networks via a wired or wireless connection. It will also stream media from connected USB flash drives and external hard drives thanks to built-in USB ports. There is of course an HDMI output, and the device is compatible with UPnP- and DLNA-enabled devices.
Epson today rolled out a late entry into HD projectors. The PowerLite Home Cinema 700 is claimed as the first 720p projector to crack the $800 mark and comes one dollar under while still carrying much of the expected feature set of otherwise very high-end units. The lamp in the 3LCD unit outputs at 2,000 lumens and comes with a 1.2X zoom lens that can throw an image as large as 270 inches and as far as 28.6 feet away.
FaceCall ($3) allows users to select a contact from their Address Book, select a phone number and picture and then create a shortcut on their home screen. The application takes advantage of Apple's Web Clips technology that allows the icons to behave as other icons would, meaning users can hold and then drag icons to reorder them.
Tension Software has released Private Contact 2.0, upgrading the secure contact data software with a new interface and bug fixes. The software stores data inside the user's Address Book, with password protection via Blowfish algorithms. Version 2.0 uses new color categories to aid its sorting and filtering options, and adds many small improvements and fixes.
Audio Impressions has released the latest version of its string instrument library, DVZ Strings 2.0. The update can now connect equipment using secondary Gigabit Ethernet ports, allowing low-latency communication. Individual stereo outputs are now available for each string section, while five mic pattern and 10 Decca Tree room mic choices have been added. Users can edit up to five sections at a time, even across different articulations and playing styles.
Nokia's tentative step into touchscreen phones this year with the 5800 XpressMusic is going to be matched up by as many as three devices in coming months, a leaked roadmap supplied to BGR shows. Aside from mentioning devices that are already complete inside the company, including the budget E63 QWERTY phone, the schedule also shows a trio of touchscreen devices, including two which should be finished on a basic level before the end of the year.
Aquafadas has released an update to its organizer and converter for MPEG-2 and AVCHD files, VideoPier. The v1.1 upgrade adds support for Elgato's Turbo.264 USB encoding stick, for a large performance jump when encoding for the iPhone, iPod or AppleTV. Also present is import, visualization and transcoding support for QuickTime-based camcorders from Sanyo, and a new FFMPEG encoder, geared to provide better playback and performance with AVCHD video files.
TeleNav, normally a GPS software developer for cell phones, has recently introduced its first piece of hardware with the introduction of a GPS unit, the Shotgun. Sporting a 4.3-inch touchscreen, the device connects to the Internet over a GSM network to receive real-time traffic updates and other information. Users of the device can send specific addresses or their own locations to each other over the network to allow them to meet up. Quick access to restaurant reviews from other diners, weather updates, as well as daily commute alerts are part of the package as well.
Announced roughly one month ago, AT&T's Quickfire started shipping on Monday. The PCD-made phone features a sliding touchscreen that reveals a full QWERTY keyboard to make text messaging and typing quicker, along with a 1.3-megapixel camera. The handset supports HSPA-based 3G data networks and can take advantage of AT&T's Napster Mobile and eMusic Mobile download services. The handset includes an aGPS sensor and can deliver driving direction via AT&T's Navigator service.
Big Canvas has launched a new photo manipulation program through the App Store. PhotoArtist allows users to add Photoshop-like filters to an image, using an iPhone or iPod touch. Images are selected from an existing library, or in the case of the iPhone, photos from the onboard camera; there are currently six different filters, including illustration, watercolor, cartoon, mono, pen and halftone. Each filter has four settings that allow users to fine-tune output.
Confirming earlier rumors, Blockbuster has announced plans to build a set-top box that will stream digital movies to TVs. The company's CEO, Jim Keyes, further notes that the the device will be associated with its Movielink rental and purchase service, but has not provided details on costs, capabilities or hardware specifications. A release is expected sometime during the holiday season; also in development is support for Blockbuster streaming through Intel chips inside IPTV hardware.
Apple's recent MacBook lineup and the iPhone may make it one of the better-positioned companies to survive a likely steep drop in spending during the holidays, according to new data from ChangeWave. The analyst firm says that a full third of all studied US notebook buyers, or 33 percent, plan to buy some form of Apple notebook during the season or within the next 90 days from the start of November. The number represents a slight boost from 29 percent in September and puts Apple's demand on par with Dell; HP continues to significantly trail behind at just 22 percent.
Red Giant Software has released Red Giant Warp, a new sets of effects generation plug-ins for video editing suites. Contained in Warp are three different tools, beginning with Corner Pin, which takes material from outside clips and pins it with a different perspective inside a working video. The plug-in additionally sports extra offset controls and integration with Mocha for After Effects.
Both Apple and ASUS have dramtically cut their notebook production going into the fourth quarter of the year, says the Commercial Times. The Chinese-language paper reports that the companies have slashed outsourcing by 20 to 30 percent, affecting Quanta Computer -- a Taiwanese company thought the be the main builder of unibody MacBooks -- and Pegatron Technology, which handles production for ASUS. ASUS has suggested that its fourth-quarter shipments will be limited to 1.7 million notebooks, preventing it from reaching its 2008 goal of 6 million.
Silicon Mountain today leapt into the US and released the Allio series of hybrid HDTVs and PCs. The screens include the regular features of TVs such as a built-in HD tuner and HDMI input but also have full desktop-class PCs inside. The feature gives the option of Blu-ray or DVD playback built into the TV but also PVR features rare in US-shipped TVs. It also access to web-only video services like Hulu and picture-in-picture viewing of TV and software on the same large picture.
Apple has posted two new TV ads for the iPhone, continuing the theme of tis Dilemmas ad, which promotes the usefulness of software from the iTunes App Store. The first of the ads mentions Shazam, which lets people identify songs playing on the radio (or elsewhere) using the iPhone's built-in mic. It is then possible to jump straight to buying a track or album from the Wi-Fi Music Store.
Novatel Wireless over the weekend announced the upcoming release of a new USB modem, the Ovation MC760 Micro Modem. Calling it the world's smallest EVDO Rev. A USB modem, Novatel goes on to reveal the MC760 provides both its wide-area Internet access as well as the added benefits of an on-board GPS receiver and a built-in microSD memory card slot. The MC760 weighs less than one ounce and is just slightly longer than two inches.
The iPhone 3G outsold even Motorola's ubiquitous RAZR V3 cellphone to take the lead in the US cellphone market during the summer, according to the NPD Group. The July 11th launch and continued strong sales have reportedly put an end to the RAZR's three-year stint at the top of sales rankings in the country and is said by the researchers to signal a "watershed shift" away from purely designer-focused phones towards smartphones and other advanced devices where messaging is important.
The iPhone is an extremely reliable smartphone, a study from a warranty extension company claims. SquareTrade says that within one year of ownership, the failure rate for the iPhone is just 5.6 percent; this is half the rate for Research in Motion's BlackBerry phones, and almost three times less than the 16.2 percent for Palm's Treo line. While no iPhone has been available for two years, the projected failure rate in that timeline is only 9.2 percent, compared to proven rates of 14.3 percent for BlackBerries and 21 percent for Treos.
Circuit City on Monday filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in a last-stage bid to remain in business. The move follows an already drastic step to shutter 155 stores and requires the retailer to reorganize the company and its finances to more readily pay back debts to its creditors, which include Samsung, Sony and other companies whose products are sold through the chain.
NAVIGON today launched its first 8-series GPS unit as both its highest-end device and as a claimed first for the industry. Through built-in 3D hardware acceleration -- still rare among navigators -- the device can render a bird's eye view with textured, dimensional terrain data from NASA that represents hills and also makes a distinction between forests and other regions.
NVIDIA on Monday established a new flagship video card for its workstation line. The Quadro FX 5800 is a major improvement over the earlier 5600 that brings 240 visual effects cores, or nearly double the old model's 128, but stands out as the first-ever video card with 4GB of onboard memory. The capacity allows for extremely large textures and geometry and also enables apps with CUDA general-purpose computing support to feed very large data sets: 4D modeling that factors in time is now more realistic.
Movie studio MGM and YouTube today are set to announce a deal bringing the former's movies and TV shows to the web video portal. The deal is currently an experiment and will see MGM launch a handful of full-length and primarily action-oriented movies, such as Bulletproof Monk, as well as a limited range of TV that will initially be limited just to episodes of the original American Gladiators.
Now AAPL Stock: 94.02 ( -2.58 )
Remote S for Tesla Apple Watch app drives car out
Developer Allen Wong has created the Remote S for Tesla app, which can be used to remotely activate the Model S electric car via an Apple Watch, and drive it a short distance. Aside from providing data about the car and some basic function controls, the unofficial app uses the manufacturer's Summon command to allow the car to turn on, exit the garage, and park near to the user's location. The app is available to purchase from the App Store for $10. http://apple.co/1PprF4t
Seagate 3TB unreliability suit expands
The Seagate 3TB class-action hard drive lawsuit has been expanded to more devices. The expanded suit, filed today, now includes Seagate's Barracuda 3TB Hard Disk Drive,Â Desktop HDD 3TB, Backup Plus 3TB External Hard DiskÂ Drive,Â GoFlex 3TB External Hard Disk Drive, or any other Seagate hard drive with model number ST3000DM001. The law firm, Hagens Berman, is seeking information from consumers such as time in service, purchase price, and the nature of any drive received in return from Seagate as a replacement for a failed unit. http://bit.ly/1Pc34Cq
BlackBerry Canada, Florida hit with layoffs
The BlackBerry campus has reportedly been wracked with layoffs. Sources familiar with the company's Waterloo office staffing claim that close to 35 percent of the local workforce has been laid off, with the deepest cuts being made in the BlackBerry 10 OS and hardware teams. Additionally, the state of Florida has been officially notified that the company's Sunrise facility will see 75 people fired. Enthusiast site Mobilesyrup puts the layoffs at around 1000 total. http://bit.ly/1Pc1Rep
Instagram tests multiple account support for iOS
Instagram is trialling support for multiple accounts in its iPhone app with a small number of users. The Facebook-owned photo sharing service confirmed the reports of the tests to TechCrunch, which will allow a single user to manage more than a single account within the app, transferring between two or three accounts with a few taps. It is unclear when the feature will roll out to the public, but it has previously tested it with the Android version of the app since November. http://tcrn.ch/1SPKEKh
Foxconn CEO declares Sharp deal near done
The Foxconn bid for Sharp is allegedly only waiting on specific details of the deal. Foxconn CEO Terry Gou has declared that his company has privileged negotiation rights for the Apple iPhone screen supplier, saying that "we have a consensus, the rest is a process ... I don't see a problem completing this process." Gou hopes the deal, worth up to $5.6 billion, will be formalized by the end of February. http://reut.rs/1SPEQjN
MIT demoes 'Eyeriss' AI chip for mobile
At the International Solid State Circuits Conference in San Francisco this week, MIT researchers presented a new chip designed specifically to implement neural networks. The researchers claim that "Eyeriss" is 10 times as efficient as a mobile GPU, so it could enable mobile devices to run artificial-intelligence algorithms such as Siri or Cortana, rather than uploading all data to a remote server for processing. http://bit.ly/1TISJBe
Pocket for iOS adds readability settings
Offline reader iOS app Pocket has updated, with reader-friendly changes. With the new revision, premium subscribers can adjust character spacing, and choose from eight new fonts including one that makes it easier for sufferers of dyslexia to read saved content. The app itself is free, with a premium subscription available for $5 a month, or $45 a year. http://apple.co/1KuILBl