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App4mac has announced CheckUp 2.0 beta, the latest version of its program that scans a computer to provide information regarding system functionality and overall performance, while also allowing any unused applications to be removed. The update can now test RAM to detect bad components, list the number of file types that exist on a system, or search for duplicate files. Users can also uninstall more items than the previous versions would allow. A function to export system reports will eventually be added.
Zevrix has released the latest version of its automated PDF output program for Microsoft Office, BatchOutput DOC 2. The update allows users to split multi-page documents into single-page PDF files. Variable output-file names are configurable to include dynamic page numbers, user names, dates or other values. PDF file sizes and resolutions can be optimized, while users can take advantage of the Mac OS X Quartz filters. Encryption and password protection is now supported for PDF files, with options for different security levels.
AT&T and Apple are pushing to have a New York court dismiss a number of charges in a class-action suit alleging that the iPhone's 3G performance falls short of advertising claims. The plaintiff in the case, Avi Koshitzki, also added additional accusations regarding cracks in the phone case. In the event that the dismissal is rejected, the companies have also filed a motion to compel arbitration, claiming that the arguments would be better suited for an alternative dispute resolution process outside of the court.
Today's deals at DealNN include several Mac computers for $1000 or less, Blu-ray players and more. Starting at $79 is the refurbished external 8x SuperDrive for the MacBook Air, available from the Apple Store. PCConnection.com has a special offer on the 2.1GHz MacBook in white for $799.99 after a mail-in rebate. Also featured is the refurbished 2.2GHz MacBook priced at $999. The 1.83GHz Mac mini is priced at $549.99 after mail-in rebate at MacMall.com. For today only, SecondAct.com has dropped the price on the refurbished Sharp Blu-ray disk player from $249 to $149.
Microsoft has released updates to its Office 2004 and Office 2008 software for Mac. Office 2004 11.5.3 is claimed to offer enhanced stability and performance. A bug has been fixed that had previously caused the program to quit unexpectedly when a document was opened. Several vulnerabilities have also been addressed, now preventing an attacker from crafting a malicious Word, Excel or RTF file that could be used to take complete control of a victim's computer.
Backblaze has revealed a beta version of its automated web-based backup service for Mac. The program allows users to create a detailed backup of all information on a computer and then save it in the Backblaze Datacenter. If any data needs to be restored, customers can either download it online or have it delivered on a DVD or USB drive. The service automatically updates any stored files, while leaving an option to disregard any information that is less important.
Apple's online store is currently offering a variety of refurbished Mac models for $1,299 or less. MacBooks start at $949 for the 2.4GHz model with 2GB of memory and a 160GB hard drive. The black 2.16GHz MacBook is priced at $999 with 1GB of memory and a 160GB hard drive. Twenty-inch iMac models start at $999 for the 2.4GHz model with 1GB of memory and a 250GB hard drive. The MacBook Air checks in at $1,199 for the 1.6GHz model with 2GB of memory and an 80GB SATA hard drive. Lastly is the 20-inch iMac with a 2.66GHz processor, 2GB of memory and a 320GB hard drive, with a price of $1,299.
Amobee Media Systems expanded its Handset Application Programming Interface (HAPI) to include support for the iPhone and Google Android platforms. Developers can use the HAPI SDK to integrate ads into mobile applications. The interface supports textual, graphical, or video advertisements, in both the online and offline modes. The SDK can be used to manage content that is served through applications, WAP browsers, videos, or SMS.
NextWorth has expanded its iPod and iPhone trade-in program to include Amazon.com and Circuit City. Customers can trade their devices at select Circuit City retail locations, receiving a store gift card for the trade-in value as determined by a store employee. Alternatively, devices can be shipped to NextWorth for inspection and valuation. The company claims that e-gift cards will be sent to customers within 24 hours of the inspection.
Super Talent on Tuesday announced the upcoming release of two lines of enterprise-class solid-state drives (SSDs), with the UltraDrive LE and ME. Super Talent promises the new SSDs are twice as fast as the fastest rotating SATA II hard drives currently on the market, and top out at 256GB capacities in the ME range. The ME range contains the fastest 2.5-inch flash-based storage for SATA-II notebooks, with maximum sequential read/write speeds rated at 200/160MBps. The ME SSDs use the company's third-generation multi-level cell (MLC) NAND-based flash chips and are available in 16GB to 256GB capacities.
Blurred images of an 8-megapixel Samsung handset that is expected to be offered at wireless provider T-Mobile have surfaced on Monday, all but confirming an earlier report. The touchscreen handset is expected to be called Memoir and feature the same TouchWiz interface as the current Samsung Behold handset. The handset is on course to be the first subsidized cameraphone in the US with an 8-megapixel shooter, which also has autofocus, a built-in flash and optical zoom, as well as video recording capabilities.
On Monday, Google announced it has launched a developer site for its Native Client open-source research technology for running x86 native code in web applications. This decision to share the technology with research and security communities is meant to help Google perfect and troubleshoot the technology, making it secure enough for public use. The idea is to let users take advantage of the fast processing speeds of their own PCs while performing tasks in web-based programs and applications.
TalkingPics ($10) is an audio recorder that allows users to attach photos and written notes to each recording. Collections of recordings, notes, photos and maps are bundled into projects, which can then be viewed as a slideshow or as individual items.
Desktop and portable PC maker Lenovo on Tuesday reduced prices for its IdeaPad S-series range of netbooks by between $50 and $80, depending on model. The basic black or white IdeaPad S10s now cost $349 and sport 10.2-inch LED-backlit LCD screens along with Intel's 1.6GHz Atom CPU. The custom-colored S10s have dropped from $439 to $359.
Bluetooth headset maker Jabra on Tuesday announced the launch of a pair of multi-use headsets with the M5390 USB and BT530 USB. Either can pair up with up to eight devices including cell phones and Internet-connected PCs for VoIP or soft-phone use. Additionally, both can pair up to two devices simultaneously, allowing users to answer the device that is ringing. Users can answer either their cellphone or a PC-based VoIP call thanks to the included USB dongle.
Sony Computer Entertainment America (SCEA) has confirmed rumors on Monday that the long-awaited and much-delayed PlayStation Home online social service will launch later this month, albeit in a limited open beta form. While SCEA execs aren't specific about dates or exactly how users will get Home onto their systems, it has been believed a downloadable firmware upgrade and a download of the software itself will represent the delivery method.
Web Help Desk has announced a free version of its Help Desk technical support software for small businesses, government organizations and K-12 schools. The free edition contains no trial period, expiration dates or ads, and comes with free software upgrades for one year. Features of the software include two-way e-mail communication, the configuration of service-level agreements for e-mail alerts and reminders to staff, e-mail to ticket conversions, and a self-service and ticket-submission portal for customer support.
A new US House Committee on Energy and Commerce report (PDF) published today accuses current FCC chairman Kevin Martin of unfairly biasing policy against the cable industry. The government body head is specifically accused of overriding others' views and is said to have reversed a finding that exempted cable providers from offering à la carte rules as well as attempting to force through a report that would have accused the cable industry of greater than 70 percent control of the market, allowing Martin and the FCC to regulate the field.
Ironic Software has released the first version of Deep, an image search utility for Macs. The software lets users retrieve images based on various criteria, but primarily color, a feature meant to aid web and graphic designers. Users pick a color from a website or anywhere else on a Mac, and the program will attempt to retrieve as many images as possible with a matching shade. A more complex option is the Genius search, which finds files with a palette similar to the one in a sample image.
TUNEWEAR has launched three new products: the PRIE Ambassador and PRIE Slim for the iPod nano 4G, along with the TUNEMAX Car Charger, which supports all USB-based iPods. The Ambassador is a genuine leather case with a carabiner that hooks to belts or straps. The carabiner can be removed for pocket travel, and its loop can be used with a lanyard. The case gives access to the headphone jack and hold switch, and is lined with velvet to protect an iPod from scratches and impacts. It arrives with a screen protector, and is available in black or white leather with seven stitching accent colors. It is now shipping for $40.
Despite the usual attention given to the Black Friday shopping rush, sales of home electronics actually dropped for the first time, the NPD Group says. Where sales during Thanksgiving week have typically grown significantly year over year and topped out at $2.2 billion in 2007, these sales actually dropped about 8.4 percent in 2008 to just over $2 billion for this year. The softened sales numbers are believed to stem both from less aggressive overall discounts as well as the failures of high-profile retailers, such as Circuit City and home theater-oriented outlet Tweeter.
Google has released the latest version of its Picasa Web Albums Uploader, v1.3. Picasa is a photo organiztion utility, used to create photo albums online and share them with other people. The update enables downloading photos onto a Mac; after logging in, users can now select the Existing Album tab, choose an album, and click the Download Album button to copy existing pictures.
In spite of their higher prices, netbooks are currently outselling Apple's iPhone lineup by a significant margin, according to a comparison from jkOnTheRun. The report expands on both new DisplaySearch netbook figures and elaborates on recent Gartner smartphone figures to reveal that the combined netbook market shipped about 5.7 million computers versus an estimate 4.7 million iPhones that ultimately reached users' hands in the same period. Apple is believed to have kept just over 2 million iPhones for inventory.
REAL Software says it has added over 100 improvements to REALbasic 2008 Release 5, which is shipping today. New features in the release include the ability to print source code in color, and methods, properties and constants that can be duplicated. Users can now write tools for automating the application building process, and take advantage of a better auto-complete feature, which supports namespaces and uses icons to represent what is being selected from the list.
Nokia's N85 smartphone, which has already been spotted at the FCC, is now officially shipping in a North America Model. The feature adds a three-band 3G data network radio for HSPA that supports the 850MHz band used by both AT&T in the US and Rogers in Canada. As of yesterday, Nokia confirmed the handset is now available, with both Nokia's web store and Amazon listing the N85, priced at $589 and $556, respectively. Either is unlocked and supports any local GSM or HSPA carrier.
Keyboard Maestro 3.5 ($36) is a utility meant to improve the convenience of Mac OS X by enabling macro shortcuts, which can be activated at any time. Macros allow users to control windows or menus, insert text, open documents, execute scripts or control iTunes all with the touch of a key or click of the mouse. The update has added support for control from an iPhone or iPod touch, a brand new Macro Palette, new Preferences and About windows, new actions for iTunes and more. [Download - 6.3MB]
Computer builder Dell has begun selling the UltraSharp 1909W, its latest LCD monitor. Measuring 19 inches in a 16:10 ratio, the screen supports resolutions up to 1440x900, with a a 5ms response time and brightness rated at 300cd/m2. Contrast is measured at only 1,000:1, and the viewing angle is limited to 160 degrees; a number of ports are provided however, including four for USB devices, one for VGA input, and another for DVI video. The last is HDCP-enabled for protected HD content.
No Thirst Software has introduced MoneyWell 1.4, the latest version of the company’s personal finance software, in which users create a spending plan and flow the income into expense buckets. New features for the update include direct-download capabilities for financial institutions, enabling one-click transaction list updates; CSV import support, with custom field mapping; and the ability to attach receipt documents and e-mails to transactions. The update also offers a redesigned interface, along with improved duplicate transaction matching and merging.
The Open Handset Alliance today said it has added 14 new members to its group in a move that will bolster support for Google's new Android operating system. The new roster includes phone manufacturers such as ASUS, Sony Ericsson and Toshiba as well as prominent chipmakers like ARM and Atheros as well as carriers Softbank and Vodafone. GPS device maker Garmin is also included in the list.
DRO Concepts has released the latest version of its Carbon Fiber iPhone Case, now designed for the original iPhone, including the 4, 8 and 16GB variants. The case is said to be made with four layers of aerospace-grade carbon fiber in the outer shell, a scratch-resistant finish, and a neoprene lining designed to prevent phones from sliding out. Altogether the case is just 0.07 inches thick, and offers full access to all features and controls.
TiVo today implemented the potentially controversial step of introducing ads to its Pause Menu interface. The move lets advertisers buy text spots that will appear whenever the user either pauses a live or timeshifted show. The ads can appear either cued to a particular show or can be automatically flagged for when certain keywords appear or even for entire genres. Fox and Mercedes-Benz are among the early companies planning to advertise.
Scandyna Speakers has released a pink version of its iPod Dock Pack. Consisting of two 100W Micropod SE Speakers and one 15W stereo dock, users are able to charge an iPod while listening to music. The Dock Pack comes complete with seven inserts for various iPod models, an infrared remote control, and two speaker cables.
Working through the US Patent and Trademark Office, Apple has filed for a trademark on Grand Central, a technology expected to be used in Mac OS X Snow Leopard, due sometime next year. Not to be confused with Google's phone management system, the Apple technology is intended to aid developers in supporting multi-core processors, which can often be underexploited even in high-end software such as games and rendering tools.
Computer memory maker OCZ late on Monday introduced the Slate Series ExpressCard, which offers up to 32GB of storage for modern notebooks with EC/34 slots. Compared to more conventional memory expansion or backup methods such as flash or external drives, the ExpressCards are said not only to be physically safer by sitting inside the slot but also more power-efficient at the same time. Available in 8GB, 16GB and 32GB capacities, the Slate Series of ExpressCards can be connected to computers like an external drive thanks to an integrated mini-USB port.
Apple's latest-generation MacBook Pro systems may face the same material defect in their dedicated graphics hardware as encountered by earlier models, according to an investigation by the Inquirer. A dissection of the GeForce 9600M chip shows the part using the same non-eutectic (higher melting point) soldered contact bumps as the GeForce 8600M, suggesting the graphics hardware is prone to the same long-term heat damage risk as the GeForce 8400M and 8600M series chips, producing the blank screens and other video errors that have triggered recalls of previous MacBook Pro revisions as well as wider-still recalls by Dell, HP and others.
The iPhone has fallen two spots in TIME Magazine's annual Top 10 Gadgets rankings, the latest issue reveals. Having taken the top position in 2007, the iPhone now sits in third for 2008, in its second incarnation as the iPhone 3G. The magazine praises the phone for having "launched the era of mobile computing," with over 10,000 applications available, linked to features such as on-board GPS.
Novatel Wireless on Tuesday announced it will soon release the MiFi range of portable wireless routers, or what it also calls Intelligent Mobile Hotspots, which promise to deliver wireless 3G data network access to multiple users within a small area. The MiFi, which is about the size of a credit card, allows users to pick from access to EVDO Rev. A or HSPA high-speed data networks. The MiFi products are also open platform, and therefore capable of running flexible applications depending on particular needs.
LG this morning said it has developed the world's first practical chip for 4G-grade cellular access using Long Term Evolution (LTE) as its standard. The 13mm square (0.51in) modem is small enough to fit in a cellphone but is capable of the theoretical peak speeds of LTE, which LG says tops out at 100Mbps downstream and at 50Mbps for uploads. A testbed Windows Mobile device has successfully reached bandwidth of 60Mbps down and 20Mbps up in a real-world example and should lead to slim cellphones with fast data performance, according to LG.
Sony on Tuesday revealed that it would cut a total of about 16,000 employees from its workforce to guard itself against the "acute downturn" in the world economy. The company is officially eliminating about 8,000 positions worldwide in its core electronics business but is also known to be dropping a similar amount from its part-time and temporary ranks. The cuts to permanent employees represent about 5 percent of Sony's total regular workforce of about 160,000.
NVIDIA is in the process of porting the technology behind the GeForce 9400M to mainboards meant for Intel's Atom processors, alleged sources from PC builders claim. The MCP79 chipset, which sits at the heart of both the 9400M in newer MacBooks and the lower-powered 9300M, is said to be in conversion for the mini PC platform with the aim of improving graphics over Intel's existing but relatively limited GMA video. NVIDIA would first focus on hardware for nettops but would potentially expand to netbooks later on.
Now AAPL Stock: 94.27 ( -0.72 )
HBO Now has 800,000 subscribers
The CEO of HBO, Richard Plepler has confirmed that the online streaming HBO service, HBO Now, has 800,000 subscribers. When criticized for the seemingly low number, Plepler noted that the still nascent service was bound to Apple exclusivity during the fifth season of Game of Thrones. Plepler declared during the Time Warner quarterly earnings conference call marketing for the online-only offering would be enhanced in 2016. While HBO Now's critics are slamming the low numbers, the service must also compete against itself on cable, in addition to Netflix and other streaming services. http://on.recode.net/1QWoLHe
Unsafe IoT called threat to humanity
US Director of National Intelligence James Clapper told two different Senate committees yesterday that the Internet of Things posed a clear and present danger, and could be weaponized by governments. Before the Senate Armed Services Committee and the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, Clapper declared that insecure IoT "will bring new security vulnerabilities" and "will connect tens of billions of new physical devices that could be exploited" by those wishing to perpetrate violence or eavesdrop on the populace of the world. http://bit.ly/23Xvcky
Apple public betas for iOS 9.3, OS X 10.11.4
Following Monday's release of betas for the iOS and OS X, Apple has unveiled public betas for both operating systems. The iOS 9.3 beta includes all of the previously reported enhancements for education customers, along with Wi-Fi calling for Verizon iPhone owners, and a carrier update for T-Mobile users. The OS X 10.11.4 third beta includes enhancements to Twitter URL opening, Live Photo viewing and sharing, and Evernote note importation into Notes.
Google given NHTSA SDS waivers
In contrast to the California Department of Motor Vehicle's approach, the US National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA) has confirmed that it is declaring the software in autonomous cars is the legal driver of a so-equipped vehicle. In a letter to Google, the NHTSA says that it "will interpret 'driver' in the context of Google's described motor vehicle design as referring to the SDS [self-driving system], and not to any of the vehicle occupants." Other matters, such as legally-required rear-view mirrors for occupied vehicles has yet to be determined. However, regulations specifying the "driver" need no longer be interpreted as meaning a person behind the wheel, as the agency writes that self-driving cars "will not have a 'driver' in the traditional sense that vehicles have had drivers during the last more than one hundred years" http://1.usa.gov/1QrAGtR
Dropshare 4 for Mac now available
Dropshare 4 for Mac has shipped, introducing support for uploading files and screenshots to Amazon S3 API-compliant services, like DreamObjects and OpenStack. The update also introduces a new popup design, an in-app editor for custom landing pages, an improved upload history window, and security improvements when using SSH connections. The paid upgrade costs $25, though it is free for customers who bought the previous version this year and half-price for those who acquired version 3 of the app last year. http://bit.ly/1XixV3q
Google starting phase-out of Flash ads
Search engine and advertising giant Google will shortly no longer accept Adobe Flash-created ads for its AdWords network. Starting June 30, ads in the once-ubiquitous format will no longer be accepted. Additionally, after January 2, 2017, the network will no longer serve Flash-based advertisements, and the network will be completely HTML 5 based. http://bit.ly/1PNx1uc
Sonos now works with Apple Music
Wireless music system manufacturer Sonos has announced that its systems worldwide will gain compatibility for streaming the paid Apple Music subscription service starting today, February 10. "Music fans worldwide will have access to Apple Music features like For You, New, Radio, and My Music, and will also be able to stream the entire Apple Music catalog through Sonos smart speakers tuned for great sound in every room of their homes," the company said in an email to journalists. Apple Music's streaming service costs $10 per month, with a free three-month trial. http://bit.ly/1Wdi2Ko