Apple on Thursday unveiled iTunes 8.0.2, an update to its multimedia player that offers users a more stable platform, and improved accessibility. iTunes 8.0.2 resolves a quality issue some users experienced when creating MP3 files, as well as increased accessibility with VoiceOver. The update also fixes a connectivity issues with the iTunes store, when a user would connect to the store through a proxy server.
Mark/Space on Thursday launched Fliq, a social networking application for Mac. Fliq allows users to transfer photos, contacts and notes to other members on the same network. Previously only available on the iPhone, the Mac version integrates Address Book and iPhoto content for additional capabilities. A drag function can be used to move text and images from anywhere on the computer and then drop the items directly into the Fliq window.
EZQuest has introduced the Thunder Pro Triple series of A/V RAID storage devices. Each unit offers two FireWire 800 ports, a FireWire 400 port and a USB port. The three-drive arrangement ships pre-configured as RAID 0 for the highest capacity and speed. The Oxford-chipset Hitachi SATA II drives run at 7200RPM with up to 64MB buffer cache. EZQuest claims data transfer speeds up to 80MB per second, with support for DV, HDV and DVCPRO HD with real-time effects.
German company Ultrasone has released the smallest headphone in its HFI line, the HFI-15G. The open-back supra-aural design features a decentralized driver position that is claimed to widen the sound-stage by directing the waves to the outer ear, instead of straight into the ear canal. The company lists a frequency range of 20Hz to 20kHz, with a sound pressure level of 96dB. The 40mm Mylar drivers are configured with an impedance of 32 Ohms.
Orb Networks on Thursday launched OrbLive 2.0, the latest version of its media application for the iPhone 3G and iPod touch. The original version was created before the App Store was opened, and required users to jailbreak their phones. The new (official) app allows the mobile devices to access media that is available on a home PC, including videos, music, live television and webcams. OrbLive works via any available data network, such as WiFi and 2G or 3G connections.
Currency Converter ($2) is a tool for converting more than 200 currencies including all of the trading currencies of the world plus some legacy and even unofficial or virtual currencies. The application uses a conversion table interface that is constantly updated as you type. The currency data is updated automatically from the web every hour or users may choose to manually update it to ensure they are always using accurate data.
Calories 1.3 ($19) is a nutrition tracking and analysis utility for Mac OS X. The application allows users to select foods from the applications database and then sort them into breakfast, lunch, dinner and snack categories. The update has added several new localizations including German, French and Spanish and now the names of week's, days and months are localized based on your system preferences language settings. [Download - 13.6MB]
The Fraunhofer Institute for Secure Information Technology in Germany has allegedly discovered an iPhone vulnerability that allows a maliciously crafted website to force the phone to dial a number, according to Spiegel. The researchers claim that a programmer would only need to know basic programming, with just three lines of code required to exploit the issue. Clicking the link to a malicious site will cause the user to lose control of the device, with a white screen displayed until the call is made, then the screen and device are released.
The updated Google Mobile iPhone app is reportedly using Apple's private APIs (application programming interfaces), according to Daring Fireball. The voice search feature can be initiated by lifting the phone to the ear. The automatic process requires moving the phone and triggering the proximity sensor. Allegedly, there is no public API that supports the particular combination and order of events. With the public API, the app can turn the sensor on, but cannot know when the sensor has been engaged.
Popular consumer information company Zagat Survey, in collaboration with Handmark, has launched an app for the iPhone and iPod touch, Zagat To Go. The application offers reviews and ratings for over 40,000 hotels, restaurants, nightspots and shops in over 100 countries. With a combination of photos, menus, Google maps and click-to-call capabilities, users can find establishments around the world and make instant reservations when needed. The searches can be based on an address, intersection, postal code, or GPS coordinates.
Chrysler is taking the next step in bringing the web into cars with a Web Edition option package due to be unveiled at the Los Angeles Auto Show this week. Along with an in-car router from Autonet Mobile, the automaker is calling uConnect Web, buyers who opt for the $1,999 package also get Dell's Mini 9 netbook, a Sony PSP, an 8GB iPod Touch and an unnamed digital camera with Eye-Fi wireless SD card. All these devices have Wi-Fi modules that can take advantage of the car's built-in router. One year of service is also included with the Web Edition package.
Alltel Wireless on Thursday announced the launch of Alltel Perks, a content delivery application that allows the carrier's customers to receive customized content that includes sports scores, weather information, discounts, trivia and more on their handsets. Once the application is downloaded from the Alltel store, it will deliver content to the phone's screen when the phone is idling. Coupons or discount offers from local merchants and restaurants will be sent to users' handsets, which can then be ignored or explored further by clicking a View button.
A merger between telecommunications companies Sprint and Clearwire announced back in May could be completed before year's end, as Clearwire's shareholders have approved the deal today, according to a Thursday report. Earlier this month, the FCC approved the merger as well, bringing the $14.6 billion venture one step closer to completion. The new company, also called Clearwire, will work on developing a mobile network based on WiMAX technology that promises wireless data transfer rates faster than any current network, approaching wired broadband speeds.
Radiology technology company PETLinQ has announced the release of RISLinQ 4.0Mac. RISLinQ is a radiology information system, one which integrates tools for scheduling, operations, dictation and transcription. The web-based application is claimed to eliminate the need for a central server. An e-payment feature allows billers to process multiple charges simultaneously, with a collections work-list format that can sort by payer, dollar amount, account balance or age.
Electronic Arts will release an iPhone version of Maxis' classic SimCity sometime next month, according to the publisher. The conversion is said to be nearly complete, and most closely resemble the third game in the series -- SimCity 3000 -- in terms of play and appearance. As usual for iPhone ports, the interface has been revised to more closely exploit multi-touch capabilities. Users should for instance have access to new touch controls for zoning, and zooming in and out of a particular area.
Okoro Media Systems on Thursday announced it will soon be shipping the more affordably priced OMS-LX100 Digital Entertainment System. Part of the company's low-profile home theater PC range, the OMS-LX100 features a single CableCARD tuner and a 2.2GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor along with NVIDIA's GeForce 9300 video card. The system also includes 4GB of RAM and a 7,200RPM SATA hard drive preloaded with Windows Vista Home Premium that has a 500GB capacity. The media center PC supports 7.1-channel high-definition audio via an HDMI port, and has a dual-layer DVD burner.
Wireless provider Alltel has recently added the HTC Touch Pro to its line-up of phones. The QWERTY smartphone is available now, priced at about $280 to new subscribers with a contract and after a $100 rebate. The 2.8-inch, 480x640 screen of the device will show the same Windows Mobile 6.1 Professional operating system though with a somewhat different TouchFLO 3D user interface than the Sprint version of the phone.
T-Mobile on Thursday announced the introduction of its web2go mobile Internet service for the provider's data-connected phones. Web2go is said to enhance web browsing and improve web searches via the use of Yahoo! oneSearch and a customizable home page that makes access to favorite locations on the web quicker. Online shopping and downloading are also said to be improved. The new interface is meant to improve the web browsing experience especially on non-smartphone devices. It will make viewing and navigating web pages easier.
A lawsuit filed against Sony over two years ago by Agere Systems has finally been settled, according to a Thursday report, with Sony ordered to pay $18.5 million for infringing on eight patents held by Agere. The jury ruled Sony willfully infringed on the patents, which dealt with wireless local area network apparatus that Sony uses in its PSP portable gaming system, Network Walkman and mylo portable Internet device.
Nokia has recently unveiled a limited edition version of its flagship smartphone, the N96, to commemorate martial arts legend Bruce Lee. The phone itself does not get any unique features, though fans of Bruce Lee should enjoy a likeness and signature of Bruce Lee on the back panel of the handset, along with preloaded rare photos of the fighter and actor. Other included accessories include an action figure of Bruce Lee made by Enterbay is likewise included with the handset.
Accessory maker Speck has announced the SeeThru Satin, a case for Apple's unibody MacBooks and MacBook Pros. Though based on a tight-fitting hard-shell design, the case uses a rubberized exterior layer, meant to both improve its feel and provide extra grip. It is divided into two pieces, and sports rubberized feet on the bottom section for added friction.
Gadget4All is offering a roll-up mousepad that has an integrated speaker and USB hub. The device has four USB 1.1 ports and a 3.5mm stereo jack that allows users to connect compatible MP3 players and iPods via their headphone connection. An on-off button and volume knob gives users basic control of the device.
While already popular in the home space, the iPhone has now just outrun Palm for second place in the US corporate world, according to a new study from ChangeWave. Closing a gap that had already been narrowing in August, the Apple device now has a place in about 14 percent of companies in November versus Palm's 11 percent. The situation is a near-reversal of the situation three months earlier, when Palm held 15 percent and Apple just 9 percent. Research in Motion's BlackBerry line maintains a clear lead at 76 percent but has remained virtually flat in share since May.
Developer Ben Kazez has introduced FlightTrack, a new program for iPhones and iPod touches. The app uses data from FlightView to display flight routes in real-time, as well as related information. Aside from visual depiction of a flight's progress, users are given arrival and departure times, the current weather situation, and even the current speed and altitude of a particular plane.
Dell has quietly given its netbooks a visual upgrade by adding several new design options. Similar to its Mike Ming Edition full-size notebooks, both the Inspiron Mini 9 and the Mini 12 now have the option of five different stylized patterns on the back designed by artist Tristan Eaton, including three "Stickers" and two "Muse" pieces. The pink and red solid color options from Japan are also now available.
Bell today heated up competition among cell carriers with a trio of Smartphone Combo plans aimed conspicuously at outpacing Rogers. The Smartphone Combo 45 plan gives users 250 minutes of calling, unlimited evenings and weekends, and 500MB of data for its namesake $45. It also provides choices of extras such as unlimited calling between five phone numbers, unlimited incoming calls, or an earlier 5PM start time for evenings.
ASUS on Wednesday introduced its newest and most powerful gaming PC, the ROG CG6190. The mid-tower runs Intel's newly released Core i7 Extreme Edition processor running at 3.2GHz and uses the X58 chipset; in a more unique twist, an ASUS-specific turbo mode lets users dial in up to 20 percent of overclocking from the factory. Compared to a model using Intel's previous generation quad-core chips, the Core i7 system is estimated to run 52 percent faster in 3D gaming tasks.
A company called FE Technologies has demonstrated a new type of display technology, called field emissions display (FED). Originally begun by Sony, the technology deploys some 10,000 electron emitters per pixel. Florescent material is passed in front of the electrons, which in turn emits light in a fashion similar to a cathode ray tube. This is said to produce a wider viewing angle than is possible with current LCDs, and and at the same time dramatically improve motion handling.
Veteran online music store eMusic today said it has registered its 250 millionth download since its subscription service began in 2003. The company is one of the few outside of Apple to reach the milestone and is owed partly to eMusic's business model, which offers unprotected MP3s compatible with Apple and Microsoft players but uses a subscription model which guarantees a certain number of songs at rates that typically fall well below the 99 cents per track found at iTunes and other stores. An entry $12 monthly plan gives users 30 downloads per month, or about 40 cents per song.
Karelia Software says it has published the software developers' kit for Sandvox 1.5, its website creation tool. Sandvox attempts to simplifying editing by reducing most of the process to drag-and-drop commands; owners of the Pro version can do direct HTML coding. Plug-ins should allow developers to expand the amount of content built into the app, including pages, pagelets and collection index data types. By default, the software has only 11 page and 19 pagelet arrangements.
Bell Canada today won a largely clear victory in an anti-throttling lawsuit filed with the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC). The government body has issued a ruling dismissing claims by Internet providers using part of Bell's network that accused the carrier of unfairly throttling the connection speeds of their services while also constricting its own. These rivals, represented by the Canadian Association of Internet Providers (CAIP), had accused Bell of trying to hinder competition and violating the basic concepts of net neutrality by discouraging large transfers.
PremiumSoft has introduced the first Mac version of Navicat for Oracle, its Oracle administration tool. Users are able to produce and edit databases, generate reports and SQL queries, and connect to multiple databases as well as remote ones. Its interface is primarily graphical, and users are provided with tools for related tasks such as SSH tunneling or data and structure sync.
Adobe has posted a v4.0.1 update for the CS4 version of Premiere Pro, its high-end video-editing suite. The patch introduces the ability to import projects from Apple's editing suite, Final Cut Pro, without any necessary conversions or re-rendering; most effects and transitions should be preserved. Users can also import and export in the Advandced Authoring Format (AAF), and export to an OMF file.
ASUS today officially launched the Eee Top in its home territory of Taiwan. The desktop is positioned as a budget alternative to an iMac or a similar media all-in-one with just a 15.6-inch, 1366x768 display and the components of a netbook but with features often left out of more expensive desktops. A built-in touchscreen supports both media playback through a special front-end (Eee Cinema), drawing notes and browsing the web using finger input. A stylus is also bundled with the Eee Top for more precise input or general use in Windows XP.
Apple has developed a technology that would let iPhones and iPods display basic warnings to users without invoking the full screen, a new US patent filing shows. The system would use a second, always-on but power-efficient backlight to illuminate a custom-shaped notification when the main backlight isn't switched on, such as an indication that an iPod is stopped or an SMS text message has reached an iPhone.
BravoBug has debuted the first version of EasyBatch, its image processing tool. The software is designed to handle image edits in bulk, primarily in terms of size and shape; users can scale or resize images in terms of pixels or inches, rotate them, and specify DPI resolution. Additional tweaks include adjustable interpolation and the ability to apply watermarks.
The identity of TeliaSonera's MMS application for the iPhone may have already been revealed, an announcement hints. Mobispine has announced the creation of what it calls the "world's first true MMS for the iPhone;" critically, the software relies on the actual MMS protocol instead of a substitute, such as a text message with an embedded URL. The company is also based in Sweden like Telia, and is marketing the app as "white label" code, with the aim of having cellular carriers impose their own branding on it.
VIZIO in a pre-Thanksgiving move today upgraded its XVT sets to include a new 55-inch flagship model. The 1080p LCD set still has the 120Hz panel to compensate for motion blur and boosts the dynamic contrast ratio to 50,000:1, putting the budget set closer to those from more expensive labels. It also carries an unusually extensive five HDMI inputs and a signature Game Port layout that puts both video and sound inputs for consoles next to each other to avoid spreading cables across the back of the set.
The launch of Verizon's BlackBerry Storm on Friday may fall short of expectations due to a last-minute flaw, according to tips given to BGR. A security issue discovered at the last moment by RIM has reportedly forced both it and Verizon to update the firmware at the last minute and cut back on the supplies of phones for launch day. One Verizon store slated to receive 100 units will now get just 40, an individual example notes.
Microsoft on Thursday gave its Zune Pass feature an upgrade by letting owners keep ten of the songs they download each month as part of the unlimited subscription service. The plan includes music from all four major labels as well as independents such as Arts & Crafts or Ghostly International and doesn't require any alterations to the $15 monthly subscription rate or to the choice of format for music, which can include either unprotected MP3s or the proprietary, locked Zune format.
Cycore has released two effects packages for Adobe After Effects, CFX Path Tools and CFX Sphere Utilities. CFX Path Tools contains two plug-ins that utilize After Effects mask path functions. "Wiggle Stroke" allows for basic frame wiggling or even geometric wire animations. Three basic modifiers are used to displace the stroke, including basic noise, wave noise, and wave functions. "Rakka" can handle multiple repetitions of a layer, allowing it to be animated along a mask path. Controls are provided for the flow design and characteristics.
AKVIS has unveiled ArtWork 1.0, a program that applies oil painting techniques to digital images. The program allows pictures to be transformed into oil portraits, landscape paintings, or still life creations. Users can work in an assisted mode, or let the software work automatically. A "virtual artist" visually lays the brush strokes onto the reference image. The Stroke Direction tool gives full control over the guiding lines. Other options can be used to adjust the canvas material or add signatures.
MSI has launched its latest series of notebooks, the VR220 YA Edition, available in black or pastel shades of blue, green, or pink. The devices feature Intel's Pentium dual-core processor and (integrated) GMA 4500M GPU. Memory options allow up to 2GB capacity with DDR2 667MHz modules, while the device also advanced Gigabit Ethernet or wireless 802.11b/g as well as N-networking. The magnesium-alloy case and a small 12.1 inch WXGA screen (1280x800 pixels, helps keep the overall weight under four pounds.
Sonic Solutions on Wednesday announced it would acquire CinemaNow, a digital video distribution service with over 6000 Hollywood Movies, moving one step further in growing its Qflix service. The move will reportedly blend CinemaNow into the Qflix business group, and adopting the title of Premium Content Group. Sonic is hoping the further concentration of the two services will boost placement of CinemaNow and Qflix drives.
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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, Desktop HDD 3TB, Backup Plus 3TB External Hard Disk Drive, 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