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EzGear on Tuesday released the green-colored ezSpace Holiday UFO, a six-outlet expander with built-in 1050-joule surge protection. The device provides enough room to fit a power transformer on every outlet, and can be plugged into the wall or used as a four-foot extension cord. Two switches are integrated into the UFO, one located at the top and a second placed on the bottom side that helps prevent accidental switch-off.
Silex Technology on Tuesday launched a suite of SX Virtual Link SDKs that allow manufacturers to implement USB over IP technology for connecting and sharing devices, such as iPods or printers, across private or business networks. The technology is claimed to be compatible with Windows and Mac platforms, as well as most embedded network devices with USB host ports. Integration of the Virtual Link functionality allows products to work on the network the same way as when using a direct USB connection.
Sponge system cleaner
Dare to be Creative on Tuesday released a new system cleaning utility, Sponge 1.0, that can be used to help trim away unwanted data from hard drives. The software allows users to view the location and size of every application on their system, and provides the option to safely remove any unnecessary programs. Sponge also scans the disk for duplicate items that can be deleted, and presents a list of the files and directories that use the most disk space.
Bluwiki Apple conflict
Apple has allegedly sent a cease-and-desist order to the public Wiki site Bluwiki.com, demanding the removal of postings from users that were trying to figure out how to write software that could sync media, from sources other than iTunes, onto iPhones and iPod touch devices running the latest software, according to MacBlogz. The order reportedly claims that the threads violate the Digital Millenium Copyright Act (DMCA) which prohibits the writing of code or spreading of information that could be used to bypass copyright protection technology.
OWC Mercury SuperDrive
Other World Computing on Tuesday announced Mercury SuperDrive kits for the pre-unibody MacBook 13-inch and MacBook Pro 15-inch notebooks. Capable of burning dual-layer 8.7GB discs, the upgraded drive also offers faster write speeds of up to 8X for DVDs and 24X for CDs. The SuperDrives are compatible with iDVD, iTunes, DiscBurn, Apple DVD Player, Roxio Toast, EMC Retrospect and CharisMac Discribe. The devices can also be bundled with a software and media package that includes NTI DragonBurn, EMC Retrospect backup software, and ten DVD-R discs.
Big Boomer's Sky Fishing ($2) is a game that has the user controlling Big Boomer the cat as he throws sticks of TNT at unsuspecting fish. Each type of fish is worth a different multiplier. Your score is be based on the multiplier of the nearest fish to the dynamite explosion. This fish is then used for the primary height calculation which is then multiplied by the number of fish also caught in the blast. Each game consists of 5 rounds which are totaled together to form your final score.
Kenwood intros iPod dock
Kenwood on Tuesday announced it will soon release its CR-iP500 all-in-one radio with an integrated iPod dock. It has a slot-loading CD drive that will support MP3 and WMA files recorded onto CD-Rs and CD-RWs. Digital files on flash memory drives can be played thanks to a USB 2.0 connection, while an iPod cradle lets users control their Apple music devices via the CR-iP500's own controls. The FM tuner can save 30 station presets and there is a clock radio with alarm functionality.
Rumpus 6.0 update
Maxum Development on Tuesday launched Rumpus 6.0, an update to its FTP program for Mac OS X. The release includes a new tool, FileWatch, for monitoring activity. A sharing feature has also been added for user administrators, making it possible to create sub-administrators that can manage user accounts. Server preferences have been expanded, and now allow configuration of multiple upload triggers for individual accounts. An IP address "whitelist" adds to the available controls for client access.
HP intros mini-Q nettops
HP recently used an event in Taiwan to unveil its first-ever nettop PC, the mini-Q 2030, that is powered by Intel's 1.6GHz dual-core Atom 330 processor and 2GB of DDR2 RAM. Other hardware includes a 160GB 7,200rpm SATA hard-drive with Windows Vista preloaded and a dual-layer DVD burner. It also has four USB 2.0 ports, two PS/2 ports, an Ethernet port, a VGA jack for connecting to monitors and an audio and microphone jack.
Dell XPS 1340 coming soon?
A product page for the XPS 1340 notebook PC on Dell's website hints at the upcoming release of the laptop, which could happen as early as this week. While the product page is incomplete, it does reveal the notebook will have a 64GB solid-state drive that will fit into the bay sized for traditional 2.5-inch hard disk drives. It's the same SSD as Dell uses in the XPS M1330 in overseas markets, and the XPS 1340 is likely to be an update of the XPS M1330 model.
Sailing Media Sync 1.0.2
Sailing Software has posted v1.0.2 of Sailing Media Sync, its phone synchronization software for Macs. The app syncs non-iPhone devices with iTunes, loading them with the music, playlists and podcasts a user chooses from. Files also retain any playcount information, which can influence future shuffling preferences.
Lenovo lockdown via text
Lenovo on Tuesday announced it will soon introduce a security feature that will allow users to lockdown their Lenovo ThinkPad notebooks just by sending a text message. The feature, called Lenovo Constant Secure Remote Disable, was developed in conjunction with Phoenix Technologies, which specializes in embedded technologies like the computer BIOS hardware.
Samsung settles lawsuit
Right before the US International Trade Commission was to make a decision on recommending to ban import of Samsung's high-speed data cellphones such as the Blackjack II and Instinct, InterDigital and Samsung have settled an ongoing patent infringement lawsuit. A Tuesday WSJ report says the two companies came to an agreement on Monday. InterDigital received $1.5 billion dollars from the likes of Apple and RIM largely from royalties from the use of patented high-speed broadband technology called 3G in their iPhone and Blackberry handsets, respectively. The two biggest cellphone makers, however, Nokia and Samsung, did not pay InterDigital and were consequently sued.
Apple Store price matching
Apple has taken further action to boost sales in its own retail stores by allowing managers to match the prices offered by competitors, according to ifoAppleStore. The stores have previously prohibited staff from approving certain deals, but a report alleges an internal announcement defining a policy for pricing flexibility. The rules are said not to be completely open however, as customers will be required to show proof of dealers' discounts.
Canon 5D Mark II shipping
Canon's newest DSLR camera, the EOS 5D Mark II DSLR, with its 21-megapixel sensor and the ability to record movies in high-definition, will begin shipping today from Canon USA's distribution centers and start arriving at retailers this week, according to the company. The news comes from Chuck Westfall, Canon USA's Technical Advisor, and means some buyers can pick up the DSLR by the end of the week and thus in time for Black Friday.
PS3 253 Brings Full Flash
An impending PlayStation 3 firmware upgrade should improve the behavior of the console for video sites, a set of release notes obtained early by CVG point out. The 2.53 update will explicitly allow for full-screen Flash content, permitting web games and video sites like YouTube to occupy the entire display rather than being limited to the web browser. Appropriately, new settings have also been included to intelligently shut off controllers or the core system after enough idle time.
DRM-free majors on iTunes?
Apple may have already completed negotiations with the three major record labels not yet on iTunes Plus, reports suggest. Apple is only recently said to have begun talks with Warner, Universal and Sony BMG to open up its catalog for the DRM-free Plus service, which currently hosts EMI and a collection of independent labels. Although Plus tracks are popular, allowing unlimited backups and broader media player support, most major-label tracks on iTunes are locked to Apple's FairPlay DRM.
IBM Next Five in Five
IBM on Monday announced its third annual IBM Next Five in Five innovations for the future that will change the way people live. The five technologies are promised for the next five years based on research and technology developed by IBM Labs from around the world and is set to include such low-cost solar cells built into ordinary surfaces, low-cost DNA tests that will keep track of users' health, speech recognition across the wider Internet, the creation of personal digital shopping helpers and digital memory aids.
A recent IEEE standards group format should reach upcoming operating systems soon and eliminate many of the worries over removable drives at work. Known as IEEE 1667, the standard would establish a way for "transient storage devices" such as USB jump drives, external hard drives, and portable media players to authenticate with a host computer and allow them to be used as removable storage.
Dell Mini 9 Gets 3G
Dell today rolled out a pair of build-to-order options to give the Inspiron Mini 9 features previously only available outside the US. A new 3G option during the customization process installs a 7.2Mbps HSPA card that provides cellular broadband on AT&T's network in the US as well as supporting foreign networks. The feature costs $125 but receives an immediate $120 discount if the Mini 9 is bought alongside a two-year data plan, Dell says.
Blockbuster VOD set-top
As promised earlier this month, video and game rental giant Blockbuster on Tuesday announced it would begin selling the previously introduced 2Wire MediaPoint player, a hub that brings video-on-demand (VOD) movies over the Internet to users' TVs. The set-top box connects to the Internet via an Ethernet link or built-in Wi-Fi module and, unlike similar products from competitors, does not require a monthly subscription or minimum rental requirement. Blockbuster promises DVD quality movies with the ability to fast-forward, rewind and pause capabilities, as well as saving movies for viewing later. The player has an HDMI connection for connecting it to HDTVs.
Nokia E75 photos leak
Photos of Nokia's E75 smartphone have been leaked to the public, a new report claims. The phone is a relative of the E71, but is notable for using a slider QWERTY design, instead of the inline keyboard format followed by its parent. It retains a conventional number/direction pad arrangement on the front, as well as a 2.4-inch LCD screen; Daily Mobile observes that while the phone is primarily black now, the back of the phone sports a mirrored metallic look.
VirtualKeyboard 3.6 ($20) is an on-screen keyboard that offers point-and-click typing. The software works with all standard Mac applications allowing users to use the virtual keyboard in any of the same situations where a hardware keyboard would be used. The update has added a new "Dash" button to the toolbar which opens the Mac Dashboard and a reduced version of VirtualKeyboard for typing within widgets. The update also adds the ability to display the on-screen keyboard with 3D keys and to choose the spacing between the keys. [Download - 5.8MB]
Kaufman on Apple prospects
Apple is likely to continue growth in spite of a looming recession, says Kaufman Brothers' Shaw Wu. Formerly with American Technology Research, the analyst notes that Kaufman is starting its coverage of Apple by posting a "buy" rating and suggesting a 12-month price target of $120. This was calculated using a 15x multiplier on its CY09 FCF estimate, which is $7.89.
Acer 10-inch Aspire One
The president of computer maker Acer, Scott Lin, said the company will launch its 10-inch Aspire One netbooks in February or March, according to a Tuesday report. Currently, Acer sells only 8.9-inch Aspire One netbooks, which make up the majority of the company's portable PC sales in its home market of Taiwan. The netbook comes bundled with a high-speed wireless data network faster than speeds offered by 3G network and is bundled with a data service from Taiwan Mobile (TWM).
DS Lite Mario Brain Age
Nintendo today unveiled two special edition DS Lite handhelds specifically intended to spur sales at the height of Black Friday. The Mario Red Nintendo DS comes in its namesake color with Mario's signature "M" logo and a copy of New Super Mario Bros. bundled with the system. An Ice Blue DS is targeted more at girls and women and comes in its logo-free color along with a copy of the original Brain Age puzzle game. Both are functionally identical to the inaugural DS Lite.
BBerry Storm Ships Sooner
Verizon appears to be quickly recuperating from the initial shortage of BlackBerry Storm phones from its high-profile launch, according to early prospective buyers. While the company had initially said that follow-up online orders might not ship until December 15th, or about three weeks after the phone's initial ship date, the company has bumped the ship date on its order page a week earlier to December 8th, suggesting an improved supply situation.
Apple holiday hours
In anticipation of the holiday season, Apple has posted the extended holiday hours for its chain of retail stores. Exact hours are dependent on individual stores, but increase in length as December 25th approaches. Some stores in cities such as Los Angeles and Newark are expected to stay open until 10 or 11PM as soon as November 28th, coinciding with the "Black Friday" shopping peak.
PS3 Price Cut in March
Sony will be more aggressive on PlayStation 3 pricing early next year, an account of an alleged company briefing. The company's European president David Reeves has reportedly told staff that the firm will be "getting more competitive in price" in March 2009 and directly implies a price cut for the PS3 in his discussion. The drop is suspected as coming in time for the local launch of Sony's flagship shooter Killzone 2 and would be used to spur sales.
Amazon Kindle 2 delayed
The Kindle 2 e-book reader, revealed in an early October leak, is apparently delayed until the first quarter of 2009 because of software issues, according to a Tuesday report from TechCrunch. Even the early 2009 release is tentative and this means the second-generation of the hot-selling device from Amazon will miss the holiday season, which will hurt its overall sales numbers. At the same time, a student version with a larger screen is expected to launch in the first half of 2009.
Piper on netbook plans
Apple will likely produce a netbook within the next two years, says analyst Gene Munster of Piper Jaffray. Although the research firm has been predicting the release of a more compact Apple portable for some time, and at one point proposed a release towards the end of 2008, it now suggests that the earliest an Apple netbook could come is sometime in 2009, in the form of a scaled-down MacBook Air.
Samsung Omnia at Verizon
Verizon on Tuesday became the first American carrier to offer the Samsung Omnia. The company's second full touchscreen smartphone in as many weeks, the Americanized edition of the Omnia adds a new, customized version of Samsung's TouchWiz interface to Windows Mobile 6.1 that lets users quickly check informational widgets and change core settings without leaving the home screen. It also brings VZ Navigator as an option for the phone's native GPS and the VZAppZone as a portal for downloading third-party native apps.
RED Big Change Coming
RED already has a second major announcement due early next month, company head Jim Jannard says in a community teaser. Having just launched the EPIC and Scarlet revisions and the DSMC system earlier this month, the greater-than-HD camera maker now promises a "big change" on December 3rd and calls the earlier announcements "insignificant" by comparison. Details of the new announcement itself remain a mystery and are unlikely to be provided until the announcement.
Moto Hint QA30
(Updated with Alltel launch info) Motorola today leapt into the growing field of non-smartphone messaging hardware and released the Hint QA30. The handset has the recent squat, wide-aspect design of devices like the LG Lotus to make room for a full QWERTY keyboard. Rather than cater to full mobile apps, though, the Hint is designed for social networking with e-mail, SMS and text-heavy social sites like Facebook. Motorola claims a more advanced web browser than on most simpler devices with quick scrolling and zooming for navigating pages.
Nokia 6260 slide
Nokia this morning made a rare addition for its more basic Symbian Series 40 devices through the 6260 slide. The handset is Nokia's first S40 phone to carry true GPS and supports navigation both through its own mapping receiver alone as well as through a data assist to speed lock-in times. It also brings features uncharacteristic for the category with HSUPA-capable 3G and a five-megapixel camera with flash, both of which Nokia touts as helpful for mobile photo uploads to Ovi or other portals.
TiVo Mobile for iPhone
TiVo and web firm Mobui today rolled out TiVo Mobile. The web app gives the iPhone, iPod touch and other mobile devices with full web browsers the ability to remotely schedule one of TiVo's Series 2 or 3 DVRs and to find shows using most of the criteria the set-top boxes themselves use, including content and keywords from shows as well as daily highlights and popular shows.
Adobe Camera Raw 5.2
Adobe on Tuesday released an update to its Photoshop Camera Raw plug-in. Adobe Camera Raw 5.2, available as a free download, extends raw file support to an additional seven camera models, including the Canon EOS 5D Mark II and Panasonic DMC LX3. According to the company, the update provides several new enhancements including the Targeted Adjustment Tool for on-image refinements and output sharpening for print or screen output. Also, users now have the ability to create a snapshot of all adjustments made to an image as a bookmark for future reference.
Apple green MacBook ad
Apple has launched a new ad highlighting many of the environmentally-friendly aspects of the new MacBooks. The company touts the devices as "the world's greenest family of notebooks," due to the combination of recyclable materials, efficient power consumption and lack of hazardous chemicals. Steve Jobs issued a summary letter shortly after the new MacBook debut, outlining the company's environmental efforts. The statement reiterated the promised to remove PVC and brominated flame retardants (BFRs) from all hardware by the end of 2008.
Hog Bay Software on Monday released TaskPaper 2.0, the latest version of its information organization application. The update includes a new search system, quick entry window, drag-and-drop support, and keyboard shortcuts. A customizable theme system allows users to modify the presentation of each list. The company also integrated an additional sidebar and project toolbar that are claimed to offer quicker access to projects. The release is also claimed to offer general performance enhancements and improved AppleScript support.
Lexia Reading updated
Lexia Learning has begun shipping the latest version of Lexia Reading, a software suite designed to help teach students, from pre-kindergarten to grade 12, who are struggling in class or suffering from learning disabilities. The release adds over 50 lessons, each designed to promote memory and retrieval of specific skills. Four mnemonic strategies are used for each lesson, including contextual stories, gestures, visualizations, and multi-sensory lessons.
MacSpeech Dictate update
MacSpeech on Monday released Dictate 1.2.1, the latest version of its speech software that allows the use of verbal commands to open applications, new windows, and execute menu commands. The update adds improved phrase training capabilities and a spelling mode for letter-by-letter dictation. Users can also take advantage of new "next field" and "previous field" commands which allow navigation forward or backward through the fields in the current target application. The release also includes several bug fixes and interface refinements.
Beatles iTunes delayed
Paul McCartney has said that the negotiations to bring the Beatles' music onto iTunes have encountered problems, according to the Associated Press. "The last word I got back was it's stalled at the whole moment, the whole process," he said. Apple Corps, Ltd., the band's holding company, has thus far prohibited the Beatles' music to be sold on any Internet outlets. EMI, the label that owns the recordings, claimed that it was still trying to resolve the matter, but would ultimately need Apple Corps' blessing before any agreements could be reached.
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