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Heralding the era of GPU-enhanced computing, the Khronos Group on Monday evening announced the ratification and public release of the Apple-proposed OpenCL 1.0 specification, the open, royalty-free standard for cross-platform, parallel programming in PCs. The OpenCL spec, proposed by Apple under six months ago, is designed to improve performance of software applications (ranging from gaming to scientific and medical software) and is supported by vendors such as Activision, Blizzard, AMD, Apple, ARM, Broadcom, Electronic Arts, IBM, Intel, Nokia, NVIDIA, and Samsung. The OpenCL standard was completed in nearly six months time by the working group in order to be ready for the release of Mac OS X Snow Leopard, the next version Apple's operating system that is expected to ship early next year.
Orbino has unveiled its latest hand-crafted notebook cases, the Exclusive Collection, consisting of the Trevi, Arista, Aria and Postino. The Trevi is an Italian-leather backpack-style case for 13-inch MacBooks. The shoulder straps are also constructed of leather, with soft padding and adjustable buckles. The slim case can alternatively be carried by a handle located above the main compartment. A front zip pocket is provided for carrying a power adapter or other accessories.
A leaked Radio Shack holiday ad shows the Acer Aspire One priced at $100 when combined with a $60 or higher two-year AT&T data plan. The promotion represents a unique subsidization strategy for netbooks, drawing from a technique long-established in the mobile handset market. The Aspire One features an Intel Atom processor, Windows XP Home, 1GB memory, 160GB hard drive, 802.11b/g wireless and integrated 3G components for connection to cellular networks.
Avenza Systems has released MAPublisher 8.0, the latest version of its cartographic plug-in for Adobe Illustrator. The update includes a new tool for automatic creation of interactive Flash maps. A MAP Vector Crop tool and dockable toolbar have also been added, along with support for Illustrator CS4. The company has improved the MAP views editor, MAP attributes interface, and the line simplification function. The import time is claimed to have been reduced by up to 80 percent.
Analysts have been actively speculating about the possibility of an Apple netbook or tablet. Trip Chowdhry from Global Equities Research has claimed that the computer-maker will unveil a completely new product category next year. He suggests that the device will feature chips produced by Apple's recent acquisition, P.A. Semi. The semiconductor company is known for producing efficient components that are able to push performance capabilities while extending battery life.
Altomac has released Running Application 2009, a program launching utility featuring a small floating palette that lists all available applications. The software is designed for organizing multiple open programs, allowing each to be brought to the foreground by clicking on the corresponding icon in the floating box. Users can also create several application sets for launching, closing, or hiding several programs simultaneously.
WinMagic has released SecureDoc for Mac, a utility that enables full-disk encryption throughout a business network. The software also supports hardware-based encryption and protection of data stored on USB drives. The AES 256-bit algorithms are used in conjunction with pre-boot authentication. A central administration console allows users to configure users, keys and policies across an entire network. The company claims that the system is scalable for any size organization.
The UK's Logic3 has recently launched its i-Station25 portable speakers meant to work with Apple's iPhone and iPod touch. The i-Station 25 includes an accelerometer that will adjust the output of the speakers to output at the correct left and right separation when users turn it 90 degrees to better view photos or videos stored on their connected Apple device. The four built-in speakers deliver a total of 8W RMS of power, and each is sized at nearly 1.6 inches. The buzzing noise heard in speakers right before an incoming call is suppressed with the use of TDMA noise distortion circuitry.
Apple CEO Steve Jobs is himself involved in picking the songs used in company advertising, a musician claims. Lars Iversen, a member of The Asteroids Galaxy Tour, notes that when "Around the Bend" was chosen for an iPod touch TV ad, a company representing the band -- Synch -- first got in touch with Apple, and then participated in a direct meeting with Jobs. The executive is said to have picked the song to use at this meeting, expressing particular enthusiasm for the music.
iharmonix, a new brand launched by the California-based Paramount Wireless company, has introduced five new products encompassed in two lines along with its debut on Monday. In the company's flagship Platinum Series line are three new headphones, starting off with the i-Series headset meant for use with the iPhone 3G and BlackBerry handsets. It includes an in-line microphone to double as a headset for hands-free conversations. A multi-function button will answer or end calls and play and pause music.
Online video rental company Netflix announced over the weekend that it will be laying off 50 of its technical specialists after the holidays, according to a Monday CNET report. The jobs involve helping customers with setting up their Netflix set-top boxes or services for PCs and Macs. A spokesman for Netflix says Microsoft's Silverlight plugin made the jobs redundant, as the software made it easy enough for customers to install without having to call for help.
Danish computer maker Zepto, which recently grabbed headlines by announcing what it calls the world's fastest 14-inch notebook with its Nox A14, has now announced the addition of its 12.1-inch Notus A12 notebook. The screen offers a maximum resolution of 1280x800, while other hardware is made up of an 800MHz Intel CPU, 1GB of RAM and an 80GB, 4,200RPM hard disk drive. The Notus A12 includes a gigabit Ethernet connection and integrated Wi-Fi module, along with a waterproof keyboard.
i-mate, maker of the Ultimate brand of smartphones, has recently announced it is launching the i-mate Go interface for its Windows Mobile 6.1-powered offerings. Based on the VITO Winterface, i-mate Go brings Windows Mobile users with touch-screen devices an iPhone-like interface, with large, square virtual buttons acting as shortcuts to launch popular applications. Users can customize the icons, selecting the most-often used applications to pop up on the main screen.
Battery maker Energizer announced on Monday it will introduce a new type of battery at the International CES show in January that will power the next-generation of smaller and thinner personal electronics devices. Called Zinc Air Prismatic, the new type of battery will allow device manufacturers to build smaller devices. Energizer promises high energy density, as much as three times more than conventional alkaline or lithium ion batteries of the same size.
iRiver announced on Friday it has begun taking pre-orders for its new CaroNavi in-car navigation system. The Navigator has a 3.5-inch LCD touchscreen that sports 320x240 resolution. It has a built-in 2GB of flash memory that stores MAPLUS software from Edia and an SD card slot for expansion, allowing users to watch WMV videos or listen to MP3, WMA and OGG files. The CaroNavi can also be used as a navigator for motorcycles and in a pedestrian mode, though how exactly hasn't been specified.
Boingo has released an iPhone app that allows users to find Wi-Fi hotspots that are part of its global network. The company has partnered with Wi-Fi providers at airports, hotels, cafes and restaurants, amassing over 100,000 locations around the world. Subscribers pay a monthly fee for access to the partner hotspots, such as Starbucks or McDonalds, instead of purchasing connection time at each individual location.
Previously only available preloaded onto Dell notebooks, Microsoft's version of Windows Vista branded under the Product (RED) global charity in support of AIDS research, the software by itself will begin shipping via Amazon starting on December 15th. The operating system on Dell's notebooks included six unique wallpapers, a screensaver, two sidebar gadgets and a Dreamscene, some of which are expected to be included in this standalone version as well, although Microsoft's product page indicates that two new wallpapers are included in the software.
Location Based Technologies has released its latest PocketFinder Location software, now in the form of an iPhone app. By using the program, a person's friends and family should be able to view the location of their iPhone worldwide, from any smartphone or computer. Included in the app are alert zones, which allow customizable alerts to be sent out whenever a user leaves a specified area.
Broadcom has developed a new communications processor that should finally bring 802.11n Wi-Fi to cellphones without the extra power normally needed for the technology. Called the BCM4329, the chip allows the wireless link on the 2.4GHz or 5GHz bands up to 50Mbps in real-world conditions but actually uses less power than earlier parts limited to the older 802.11g standard. It also uses a technique known as space time block coding to more reliably hold a connection on the fringes of the network.
Boinx Software has released v1.1 of its live video production program, BoinxTV. Offering a new Sidebar layer that allows users to slide in content from either the left or right edge of the screen, the update also makes changes to the Scrolling Text parameters, enabling users to place scrolling credits on top of a sidebar. More adjustments include an extension to the Demo mode, increasing the five-day period to a 30 days, and removal of the overlay when working with the demo so people can produce usable footage. Boinx has also added a MyShop template, making it possible to create and manage a shopping channel.
Early details have already surfaced for the production versions of AMD's Phenom II processors. Already known to be based on the same Shanghai architecture, which brings denser and cooler 45 nanometer chips as well as minor changes to the design itself, the new quad-core parts should carry 8MB of Level 2 cache (up from 6MB on equivalent Opterons) and will also support either DDR2 or DD3 memory running at 1.33GHz. The final lineup is estimated to run about 20 percent faster than earlier Phenom models.
Google is adopting a more concentrated approach to marketing on cellphones, an announcement reveals. The company says it has revised its AdWords advertising system, and will now allow advertisers to push desktop-like web ads to the iPhone, the T-Mobile G1 and other phones with full HTML support. While AdWords material has appeared on devices such as the iPhone in the past, Google says it is now allowing people to target iPhone- and G1-like platforms explicitly, without having to use mobile formats or landing pages.
onOne has released the latest version of its image resizing plug-in, Genuine Fractals 6. The update now allows tiling for smaller printers and batch processing. A gallery wrap function has been added, along with support for Adobe Photoshop CS4, Elements, Lightroom 2 and Apple Aperture 2.1. The company claims that its fractal-based interpolation algorithms allow image sizes to be increased by 1000 percent without losing sharpness or detail. The utility also allows images to be cropped to fit a variety of common document sizes.
HP Labs and Arizona State University today revealed that it has built the first example of a working flexible plastic display. A process known as self-aligned imprint lithography (SAIL) lets the PC maker build a thin film transistor screen that can be rolled up without snapping or otherwise easily breaking. Although it uses an active matrix and can show moving content, it also uses Vizplex's E Ink technology borrowed from e-books to render an image stable even when the display's power is shut off, making it ideal for reading.
iRiver, maker of the SPINN digital audio player with a 3.2-inch OLED screen, will be launching two entry-level players, according to a weekend report. The simpler and smaller of the new players, the T5, is a strictly audio-only player with a simple display that supports MP3, WMA and OGG formats and has a USB port for charging the device and loading tracks. It should be available in black or white and 2GB or 4GB capacities, while its battery life is rated at 13 hours.
Americans should not expect to Sony Ericsson's Xperia X1 smartphone anytime soon, according to indications. Best Buy is said to have changed the online status of the phone from "Pre-Order" to "Coming Soon," and Sony's own Sony Style website has moved the release date to January 12th of next year. Those who have already pre-ordered through Best Buy are reportedly being sent multiple e-mails, warning of stock delays. The phone has been on sale in Europe since the end of September.
Greenpeace may be unfairly singling out Apple in its latest technology rankings, research by BusinessWeek shows. The magazine notes that Apple's score on the eco-friendly chart has barely moved despite its green initiative that eliminated toxins and many non-recyclable materials from most of notebooks, which itself followed similar moves to purge many of the materials from iPhones and iPods.
Although the Kaufman Bros. research group has called the prospect of a $99 iPhone "inevitable," such a price is actually unlikely in the near future, according to UBS analyst Maynard Um. Um is in particular responding to a report from the San Jose Mercury News, which cites the possibility of a $99 price and a special 4GB capacity at Walmart. There are several reasons this view should be considered improbable, says Um, beginning with the fact that the Mercury News cites only one Walmart worker as a source for the 4GB phone option.
Chillingo has launched its latest game for the iPhone and iPod touch, Master Kick Table Soccer . Presented in a foosball-style format with miniature soccer players, Master Kick provides six playing fields including grassy, indoor, snow and "cyber" themes. Also present are six teams to choose from, action replays, and the option to play a quick match or in a tournament setting.
Tivoli on Monday announced the release of its NetWorks radios that connect to the Internet via their built-in Wi-Fito deliver streaming radio. The NetWorksalso allows users to access their networked PCs via an Ethernet connection or the wireless link. The NetWorks radios sport a hand-crafted wood frame that houses one 3.5-inch speaker, but users can expand them with a separate stereo speaker, CD player and subwoofer offered by Tivoli.
HP on Monday quietly dropped the price of its Mini 1000 netbook down to $360 from its original $400 price tag. The update puts the system into closer competition with same-size models and is accompanied by a new offer that doubles the RAM to 1GB for free. The deal effectively removes the most common upgrade option from the system and further discounts the final shipping price.
The majority of worms, viruses and Trojan horses attack and infect Windows systems. While the Mac is theoretically more secure due to its Unix underpinnings, the growing popularity of Macs may only make them more enticing as a target. There are already a handful of Trojan horses for the Mac, and the threat will likely continue to grow. Anti-virus software may remain optional for Mac users, but if you want to play it safe, you can protect your Mac with something like Integoís VirusBarrier.
As promised, Creative this morning marked the US in-store date for its Vado HD pocket camera. The 720p-capable recorder aims to beat the Flip Mino HD on features with HDMI video output, twice as much storage at 8GB and a larger two-inch preview LCD. Creative uses H.264 encoding that should give it four hours with Flip-level encoding or two hours in a claimed better HD+ capture mode.
Dell has unwittingly revealed a major revision to its Inspiron notebooks courtesy of a company-hosted technology guide discovered late yesterday. The Inspiron 1545 will be one of Dell's first truly mainstream notebooks with a 16:9 aspect ratio display and should switch from today's 15.4-inch LCD to a more movie-friendly 15.6-inch, 1366x768 (WXGA) screen with the option of an LED backlight. It should also mark a jump to Centrino 2 that carries anything from a 2GHz Celeron to a 2.53GHz Core 2 Duo and will bring GMA 4500MHD integrated video as a result.
Sound Guy says it has released a new version of SFX Machine Pro, now tailored for the RTAS format used by Pro Tools systems. The software is an effects creation tool meant for music and general audio work, and includes over 300 presets, divided into broader categories such as chorus, delay, filters, granulation and pitch. The presets can be edited as necessary however, and new ones can be created by working from base parameters.
Newer sources back the notion that Walmart will soon begin carrying the iPhone, Bloomberg reports. The news agency cites cellphone department workers at five California Walmarts, who again say that the iPhone is due by the end of December, and that sales training for it is already in progress. The exact timing of the launch remains contentious however, as while previous reports have hinted at a December 28th launch, a store representative from Yuba City says the phone will come the day before Christmas; a clerk in Stockton suggests that a launch could happen as soon as December 15th.
After a low-key launch over a week ago, Rogers today officially posted the BlackBerry Curve 8900 online. The third-generation Curve is designed to more closely resemble the BlackBerry Bold and gets the higher-end model's very high-resolution 480x360 display, GPS and Wi-Fi while dropping 3G and adding a sharper 3.2-megapixel camera. In Rogers trim, it supports the carrier's Talkspot service for Wi-Fi calling and comes preloaded with a portal to download certain third-party apps.
Intel's Atom processor lineup may receive a significant graphics boost in the near future and a more efficient process in less than two years, according to a roadmap leaked by the Register. Intel's next-generation Poulsbo architecture for handhelds, headlined by the Lincroft version of the Atom processor, will reportedly drop Intel's in-house graphics hardware in favor of a PowerVR core integrated with the Atom processor itself. The claimed move would reduce power consumption without sacrificing too much performance and would specifically compete against ARM-based smartphones.
Logitech today acknowledged some of the most common uses of notebooks today by launching its Comfort Lapdesk for Notebooks. The platform uses a hard base but a curved, cushioned surface ideal for knees; laying the stand out this way both keeps the notebook itself cool when used on the bed or couch and also angles the system upwards for a more natural angle. A curved design on the base with heat shielding both prevents the stand from blocking airflow and from transferring the heat through to the user's legs.
TiVo on Monday said that its recently promised Netflix for TiVo should now be active. The service lets owners of Series 3, TiVo HD and TiVo HD XL DVRs that also maintain active Netflix subscriptions stream movies and TV shows from their Instant Queues. Titles can play in HD whenever the content is available, and the TiVo's own remote can be used both for navigating the movie as well as rating movies or checking descriptions before starting.
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Filemaker provides free custom app guide
FileMaker announced today the release of the first in a three-part series of free how-to guides that will lead teams through the process of building a custom app using the FileMaker Platform. FileMaker's new how-to guides provide a step-by-step process that starts with a planning cycle covering goals, requirements, functionality and usability, and run all the way through identifying user scenarios, defining requirements, addressing integration, providing security, and deployment of the final product. http://bit.ly/1o08wQh
OCZ Trion 150 SSD shifts to 15nm TLC NAND
SSD manufacturer OCZ has updated its entry-level 2.5-inch Trion 100 SSD. The new Trion 150 has similar performance to the now replaced model, and now utilizes 15nm TLC NAND. Sequential read speeds top out at 550MB/S, with 4KB random write speeds running from 25K IOPS in the 120GB model, to 64K IOPS in the 960GB version of the drive. Endurance is limited to 30TB in the 120GB, and peaks at 240TB in the 960GB version. Retail prices vary between $46 for 120GB, to $270 for the 960GB version. http://bit.ly/1nVmlyL
Google off the hook in CAPTCHA labor suit
US District Jacqueline Scott Corley has dismissed a proposed class-action suit against Google, that alleged that Google secretly was given an economic gain without user knowledge. The suit alleged, correctly, that the second word in Google's CAPTCHA service was used as a crowd-sourced word identification for Google's book-scanning project. The judge ruled that the suit as filed had no facts to support a "reasonable consumer would expect to receive compensation" for the seconds it took to complete the form, and in addition, the free Gmail account provided more than offset any labor penalty incurred by the user. http://bit.ly/1o06Cir
Secure your Google accounts today
Google is offering 2GB of Google Drive storage today for free, if users check the security of their accounts. As part of Safer Internet Day 2016, the scheme will give the 2GB storage extension to anyone going through the Google Security Checkup, examining connected devices, permissions, and other security settings associated with their Google account.
Swift benchmarking suite goes open-source
Following the release of new betas for all its platforms, Apple on Monday also made a suite of 75 tools for benchmarking Swift-developed coding projects, including libraries for benchmarking functions, a utility for comparing the resulting metrics, and a driver for running them. The company says it is asking the community for help in developing additional benchmarks, as well as further "helper" libraries and overall code review for better stability and performance. Apple plans to include benchmark pull requests in Swift's new continuous integration system as well. http://bit.ly/1W8u0EU
Instagram now supporting multiple accounts
As reported earlier, Instagram is now rolling out support for multiple accounts (up to five) in version 7.1.5 of its iOS app. The feature has been one of the main attractions of third-party Instagram clients, but it is unclear if users must seek out an "add account" preference in the app; additionally, some users are reporting that the ability to add accounts has not yet been added. The company says notifications "depend on when you last logged in, and the number of devices that are logged into that account," suggesting not all notifications across accounts will appear when logged into a given one. http://bit.ly/1moh95p
Pictures of Galaxy S7, Edge leaked
New images have been leaked of Samsung's new Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge. The images of the Galaxy S7 are very similar to a draft leaked earlier this year, with a curved back reminiscent of the iPhone 3G with the normal Samsung camera hump in the upper center of the phone. The picture of the Galaxy S7 Edge as leaked is running a benchmark application showing modest improvements over the S6 line, if accurate. Both models are expected to be formally announced in a February 21 press event hosted by Samsung. http://bit.ly/20Gf07X