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Apple is reportedly polishing the last details for its Mac OS X 10.5.6 update, suggesting that a public release may be imminent, according to Apple Insider. Developers were provided with build 9G55 on Wednesday, less than a week after receiving build 9G52. Sources have claimed that the two builds do not include any noticeable differences, which could indicate that the formal release is right around the corner. Other sources reported that Mac OS X 10.5.6 Server now parallels the client software, with both now sharing the same build number.
As hinted at in a leaked flyer, Radio Shack tonight rolled out a special version of the Acer Aspire One with built-in 3G data. The all-black model holds a built-in HSPA modem that lets it connect to AT&T's network for Internet access when Wi-Fi isn't an option. The system itself sites at the higher end of Acer's spectrum with 1GB of memory and a 160GB hard drive bolstering the by-now standard 1.6GHz Atom chip and Windows XP Home.
The most recent ChangeWave survey of consumers' spending outlook suggests that the negative trend has leveled off, but the forecast still remains bleak. The 90-day spending plans of surveyed individuals suggests that 60 percent of consumers expect to spend less during the next few months, while only 11 percent expect to spend more, marking the worst numbers that the research company has seen since the surveys began. The number of respondents in the category that plans on spending more has only risen by one-point since the November survey, while the spend-less group also increased by one percent.
Citysearch has launched Mobile by Citysearch, an app for the iPhone and iPod touch that allows users to access its city guides. The program locates information for restaurants, bars, spas, shopping locations or hotels. Listings can be searched by keyword, category or location, with each entry providing details such as the address, phone number, directions, pictures and hours of operation. Users can also browse or submit reviews of particular businesses, all without registering or creating an account.
Shinnorie.com has launched GEN Label, its made-to-order iPhone and iPod case design service. Customers build the designs online, choosing from a variety of colored leather or nylon materials for the basic construction. Other options include custom thread colors, structural modifications, and accessories including carabineers, hand straps, neck straps or belt clips. Customers can also upload graphic images to be used on the front panel of cases for the iPod classic.
Data Realms has released a Mac version of Cortex Command, a game that lets users control a telekinetic brain that lands on an alien planet. Players can create a customized bunker to be used for taking control of enemy soldiers or machinery that will assist with exploration of the planet and defense against threats. The terrain of the game is fully destructible and ever-lasting, allowing soldiers to use digging tools to discover gold, while permanently leaving all holes or destroyed enemies on the field. All graphics are designed in 2D pixel.
CTM Development has released PowerMail 6.0, the latest version of its application for searching and managing e-mail. Users can now sync with MobileMe or take advantage of full coexistence with iPhone mail. The release adds a self-updating function, batch importing for Apple Mail databases and addresses, and the ability to match and merge imported folders into existing folders.
LaCie has introduced revamped RAID drives with noise-dampening from new partner Noctua, including the LaCie 4big Quadra and the LaCie 5big Network. LaCie also announced it will ship new software for its Hard Disk, Little Disk and Rugged Hard Disk Storage units.
Online retailers continue holiday sales on digital cameras, printers, notebooks, HDTVs and more. For a limited time PCconnection.com is offering a special bundle deal that includes a Nikon CoolPix 8MP digital camera, Epson Workforce color printer and 2GB SD memory card for $99.99 with FREE shipping. BestBuy.com has a range of great gift ideas for $50 or less that include the SanDisk Sansa 2GB MP3 player for $49.99, Family Guy volume five on DVD is priced at $29.99, Jabra Bluetooth headset for $39.99 and more.
De Vere’s of London, the creator of the Diamond iPhone, has launched its latest fashion/luxury modified handset, the all-black Midnight iPhone 3G. The model features an electroplated deep-black gloss finish on the steel bezel that surrounds the screen, helping to match the front with the dark colors found on the back of the device. The 16GB phones are unlocked to avoid any contract or carrier issues.
Holiday sales continue as online retailers drop prices on Apple products from MacBooks to iPods. For today only CircuitCity.com has reduced the price on the 8GB iPod touch from $229.99 to $219.99 plus get a FREE $10 gift card. MacConnection.com has sold out of a few clearance priced MacBook models, but many remain including aluminum cased 2.4GHz MacBook for $1,399 and the previous generation 2.5GHz, 15-inch MacBook Pro for $1,549.
As promised just yesterday, the full, non-beta version of Google's Chrome Internet browser is now available for download. The simple-appearing browser, which thus far supports only Windows Vista and XP SP2 systems, was released in beta form back in September and promises to make web browsing faster, easier and safer. It will allow users to perform Google searches straight from the address bar, which will return suggestions for searches and web pages as they type.
Sony is showing off an advanced lampshade made up of dye-sensitized solar cells that capture light and convert it into electricity at the Eco-Products 2008 show in Japan on Thursday. The prototype is called Hana-Akari and uses what Sony calls is a process similar to photosynthesis to capture energy from any light source.
Japan's Ratoc Systems has recently shown off its certified wireless USB starter kit, the REX-WUSB1. The system is designed for use with notebooks equipped with a PC Card slot and includes a three-port wireless USB hub that can also be wired. The kit is compatible with Windows XP or Vista PCs after the included drivers are installed.
SimpleImage 5.1 ($20) allows users to organize images and movies, and remembers the last 250 files that were opened with the exact preview information that they were last viewed with, such as size, position and movie length. The app can also create snapshots of groups of windows, and can run slideshows that use Apple's Core Image technology for its transition effects. Version 5.1 adds the ability to color-correct, sharpen and apply effects filters to images, and also lets users set background, text and drop-shadow colors for contact sheets generated from movies and browsers. [Download - 7.2MB]
Addonics on Thursday announced the release of its NAS Adapter that lets users add USB-based storage devices to local area networks. The USB storage device can then be shared by any user on the network and up to eight outside users with an Internet connection via FTP access. The adapter is compatible with SMB and open-source Samba network protocols, and can be configured as a printer server or BitTorrent downloader.
Sweden's telecommunications giant Ericsson announced on Thursday it is working with Intel to equip mobile broadband module-equipped notebooks with secure anti-theft solutions. The solution is meant to make stealing notebooks less attractive to thieves and protect data with encryption software. The concept, identical to the recent Lenovo solution recently unveiled, involves users sending an SMS message to the notebook's mobile broadband module that will trigger Intel's Anti-Theft function built into the processor platform and locks down the system. When the notebook is recovered, another message can restore the system to its operational state.
Rogers today claimed the distinction of being the first North American carrier to have a completed 7.2Mbps HSPA network. The speed allows anyone in Rogers' 3G areas to theoretically download twice as quickly as both the Canadian provider's earlier 3G network and for most of AT&T, either of which has topped out at 3.6Mbps. The company also plans to expand the total 3G area to cover about 75 percent of Canada's total population by the end of this month.
OWC has released an internal SuperDrive upgrade for the 17-inch MacBook Pro notebook. The Dual-Layer DVD+CD drive is claimed to offer burn speeds of up to 24X with CDs or 8X with DVDs. Customers can also bundle the drive with a package that includes ten blank DVD-R discs, jewel cases, EMC Retrospect backup software, and NTI Dragonburn 4 DVD/CD burning software for Mac.
Having recently completed a beta period, Mozy has announced the formal debut of MozyPro for Mac, its pro-level online backup service. The service is intended for businesses based on Mac computers, and automatically backs up desktops, servers and notebooks to protect against accidental data loss. Data is encrypted against theft, and managed from a web-based console.
Newer Technology has launched its MAXPower 802.11g/b Wireless USB 2.0 Stick Adapter, enabling USB-based Macs to access 802.11g wireless networks, and is backward compatible with 802.11b. Designed with notebooks like the PowerBook G3 and G4 and iBook G3 in mind, the stick brings wireless abilities to older notebooks that often didn't ship with wireless capability included, or had the internal wireless cards fail. WEP, WPA and WPA2 security standards are supported, and transmissions cover a 50-100 ft range indoors, with a 300 ft limit outdoors.
Hero of Sparta ($10) puts players in the shoes of King Argos, a Spartan hero who is unafraid of defying the gods themselves. The game features a virtual analogue stick for controlling movement and other actions are performed by using the touch screen. Players will face legions of enemies and some well known mythical creatures such as the Cyclops.
The incumbent White House administration today voiced public opposition to a measure that would require the winner of an FCC auction to offer free AWS Internet access across the US. A letter from Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez claims to represent the Bush administration in opposing the wireless plan and says the FCC should let bidders win without conditions, with "market forces" dictating the nature of any Internet service rather than government concerns for the public interest.
GiantCrayon has revealed a new word puzzle title for the Mac, WordSoup. The software is an anagram game, in which players are given a random group of letters underneath a series of small lines. They then make as many words as possible out of the letters in order to fill the spaces above, after which points are rewarded. Each round ends when either the time runs out and the game is over, or the longest word in the list is created to allow advancement.
Caringo has announced its CAStor Content File Server (CFS), which allows Macs to connect to its content storage. CAStor storage can scale from small capacities to clusters reaching petabyte sizes. The CAStor system is a POSIX-compliant filesystem, said to exceed the file count and storage capacities of block-based NAS systems. It supports Mac, WebDAV, NFS, CIFS, FTP and Linux, with full support of Active Directory and Access Control lists.
A number of users have been experiencing outages or unusually slow speeds while trying to access the iTunes Store on Thursday, anecdotes indicate. The troubles are believed to have begun around morning Eastern time, and those that have been able to access the Store have cited delays in trying to reach different sections, including the App Store. In at least some cases, images have appeared broken on the site.
Comcast today said that its DOCSIS 3 Internet access has reached about 20 percent of its coverage areas in less than a year through expansion into three new areas. Subscribers in particular areas of Atlanta, Balitmore and Chicago now have the option of using the faster, channel-bonded access with either a 50Mbps Extreme tier with 10Mbps uploads or an in-between 22Mbps Ultra tier with 5Mbps upstream.
Tsutaya will soon offer downloadable HD videos in its home market of Japan that can then be recorded onto blank Blu-ray discs and other media from the hard drives of their home electronics. Users with compatible devices will have a choice of over 400 titles that include movies and TV shows from four US film companies before the year is out, with half of the offerings dubbed into Japanese. The service is offered via the Tsutaya TV service hosted by the acTVila portal site and will release content at the same time as they are officially released on DVD or Blu-ray discs to the public.
Ultimate Ears has quietly added a new range-topping in-canal earbud set. The Triple.Fi 10vi earns its name from its three separate drivers and is claimed to have the same sound characteristics as the company's studio and concert monitors but without the customization that adds to the cost; frequency response ranges as low as 10Hz and as high as 17kHz. As an in-canal set, the 10vi provides passive noise canceling and eliminates about 26dB of outside sound.
Google may begin offering downloadable ringtones and wallpapers for the T-Mobile G1 smartphone, according to a Wednesday report. Two icons revealed when unzipping the Market.apk file on the T-Mobile G1 hints at the possibility of Google selling ringtones and wallpapers via the Android Market. Nothing is official and Google has not made any mention of offering either ringtones nor wallpapers, and the icons are hidden in the drawable folder under res, called ringtones.png and wallpapers.png. If the ringtones and wallpapers icons are put to use by Google, their content will most likely be governed by carriers who will charge users for each download, as is the case in many current set-ups.
Microsoft may be facing harder times than expected going into 2009, various analysts argue. Although the company itself has posted conservative guidance for the near future, Morgan Stanley analyst Adam Holt says he is lowering both his fiscal Q2 and fiscal 2009 projections, mainly on the belief that PC sales have slackened considerably. Complicating the situation, according to Bernstein's Jeffrey Lindsay, is that the emergence of netbooks represents a wildcard -- because of their limited purpose many of them are able to use Linux, or lower-end versions of Windows.
Apple's iPhone line and Research in Motion's BlackBerry have skewed the US cellphone market in favor of more expensive phones and designs, according to new ComScore m:metrics data. Following a year-over-year surge in which the iPhone jumped to second place for smartphone market share in the country, the researchers note that the average monthly percentage of touchscreen phones in use during the summer almost tripled from just 3.6 percent in September 2007 to exactly 10 percent a year later. Fixed QWERTY phones like the BlackBerry Curve also more than doubled their influence from 9.5 percent of users to 22.6 percent.
TeamViewer has released a new version of its cross-platform desktop-sharing software, TeamViewer V4. The headlining feature in V4 is browser-based access, allowing remote connections via a web browser. The browser connection will work across platforms, allowing PCs and Macs to share desktops with one another. The remote control utilizes Flash components instead of ActiveX, reducing the risk of unwanted executables and browser plug-ins activating. The browser feature also brings another new component in the form of shared presentations. Up to 10 users can log into a browser session and share screens, though this is a premium license feature.
AT&T is now offering personal online shipments of the iPhone 3G, according to an announcement on its website. Buyers have traditionally had to pick up the phone from an Apple or AT&T store, regardless of whether they had completed an online registration or bought a gift card. This is because Apple switched to a policy of requiring in-store activation, as a means of disrupting unlocking for unofficial carriers.
HP on Thursday broke new ground for itself by introducing its first-ever Linux desktop aimed at small offices and schools. The HP Compaq dc5850 now has the option of SUSE Linux preinstalled rather than having to choose FreeDOS and install the open-source software afterwards. It also comes preloaded with multiple similarly open-source apps such as OpenOffice as well as its web browser, e-mail and IM suites; schools also get access to about 40 educational games and learning tools.
Apple may be seeking to expand on some of the cosmetic changes in Mac OS X Leopard to make them more informative, a newly-published patent filing reveals. The filing, titled Multi-Dimensional Desktop, superficially depicts the current Leopard desktop, with the standard Menu Bar and three-dimensional Dock. In detail however the patent shows a desktop in which the 3D is more than an aesthetic touch, and signals a relationship between different items.
NETGEAR hopes to lead the increasingly crowded networked media hub field with a new flagship, the company tells Wired. The Digital Entertainer Elite or EVA9150 will focus on brute hardware superiority to compete against rivals such as the Apple TV and will be one of the few in the category to play 1080p video. Appropriately, it will also carry a 500GB hard drive in an accessible bay that lets owners upgrade themselves if the storage is lacking.
AT&T today helped wrap up its year through the release of the Pantech C630. The candybar design aims to bring relatively high-end features to the budget realm and carries both 3G and assisted GPS. It also brings a slightly more upscale design with metal-like accents and a rubberized texture at the back to improve its grip.
TuneUp Media has released the Mac version of its iTunes plug-in, which cleans up and organizes a user's music library. The plug-in also searches the Internet for music videos, recommendations and concert information based on a user's personal collection. The Windows version of TuneUp has been available for several months, and the company claims it has become "the most popular iTunes add-on" for that platform.
JVC today gave a preview of potential CES camcorder launches with a pair of new Everio models for Japan. The 60GB GZ-MG840 and 120GB GZ-MG860 shoot in a DVD-resolution 720x480 wide format but also have a unique dual storage system that combines a hard drive and a microSDHC card slot. Videographers can capture either moving or still footage either to the core disk or to the removable format. As much as 28 hours and 40 minutes of MPEG-2 footage can be recorded to the 120GB disk, but an extra 1 hour and 54 minutes can be stored on an 8GB microSDHC card.
OCZ has continued on a string of solid-state drive introductions with the Vertex Series. Although it uses lower-cost multi-level cell (MLC) flash memory, the SATA II-based Vertex uses a new memory controller that gives performance closer to faster single-level cell SSDs; OCZ estimates peak read speeds of 200MB per second and nearly as quick write speeds at 160MB per second. The drives likewise have as much as 64MB of onboard cache to smooth out the few performance issues left with flash technology.
NVIDIA will kick off CES with a new dual processor video card meant to reclaim the performance crown, a leak from VR-Zone shows. The GTX 295 would use a relatively new 55 nanometer manufacturing process to fit two GTX 200-series processors in a single card. While clock speeds are unknown, the combined board would have twice as much memory as a GTX 260 with 1,792MB of RAM and run on a very wide 896-bit memory bus.
Edge Health Solutions will use Allscripts' enterprise version of ePrescribe in its future Mac-based medical software. Allscripts ePrescribe software provides prescription-ordering support for Mac users. The move comes as a 2009 electronic prescription initiative is about to begin, where physicians who prescribe medications electronically will be paid up to 2 percent of their annual Medicare billings, while physicians who fail to use the technology may be penalized an equal amount after 2012.
Dejal Systems has created a visual phonebook for the iPhone called SmileDial Pro, available now on the iTunes App Store. The app displays a contact's photo, allowing for touching the upper or lower half of the photo to send a text message or make a call to that person. Users can swipe through the images using touch gestures and order the contacts any way they prefer. The app also allows for calling a contact via other phone numbers, sending an email, linking a website and more. Photos load from the phone's Address Book or can be picked from the user's photo library and SmileDial also supports taking a contact's photo via the phone itself.
Chronos has launched an update to its design application for labels and envelopes, SOHO Labels 4. The latest version offers support for U.S. Postal guidelines and FIM, six additional smart shapes for cropping photos, multiple object resizing options, and an Image Kit Browser to simplify management and searching of artwork. One-click formatting now enables users to change addresses from the preview mode.
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Apple to open R&D center in India
A new report says that Apple will be opening a new technology center in Hyderabad, India, helping to boost the city's growing reputation as a tech center. The facility would operate within the WaveRock facility, and create 4,500 new jobs at a cost of around $25 million. In 2015, India surpassed the $1 billion in yearly sales milestone, and Apple has recently received permission to open retail stores in the country under its own control, an exception to rules that usually block foreign ownership. http://zd.net/1SMBVu4
Google killing Picasa starting May 1
Google Photos head Anil Sabharwal confirmed in a blog post today that the search engine giant will be shutting down acquisition Picasa. Support and downloads for the desktop application will terminate on March 15 with the application continuing to work for the time being. The transition to Google Photos truly commences on May 1, with deprecation of some Picasa API calls happening shortly thereafter. Users that have Google Photos access will find their photos already migrated. A mass-download tool for users not wishing to use Google Photos will be available sometime after May 1. http://bit.ly/1SmV2KH
Rogue Amoeba Piezo updated, departing App Store
In order to continue working on audio capture tool Piezo, developer Rogue Amoeba has simultaneously updated the app to version 1.5, and announced that it will pull version 1.2.6 from the Mac App Store. Customers who own the Mac App Store version have a one-time migration process to the Rogue Amoeba-served version. The company notes that the sandboxing restriction placed on Mac App Store versions "effectively stopped our ability to upgrade Piezo in any meaningful way." [8.80MB] http://bit.ly/1PIjz7l
FCC spectrum auction will happen without Google
After throwing its hat in earlier, Google (and associated companies) has declared that it is not participating in this year's FCC spectrum auction. A company spokeswoman said of the auction that "like all those interested in improved connectivity and equitable access, we'll be following the upcoming spectrum auction closely. That said, we have not filed to participate." http://on.recode.net/1oy5LWk
iPad Air 3, iPhone 5se sold Friday after launch?
Reverting the way products are actually released by Apple after an announcement to the way it was a decade ago, reports are circulating that new products revealed at a March announcement will go on sale the Friday immediately following the unveil. Slated to appear at a conjectural Tuesday, March 15 event are a new Apple four-inch phone with more up to date internals currently referred to as the iPhone 5se, and a new iPad Air 3 model with Smart Connector and other enhancements. http://bit.ly/1o7mqiY
Lexmark prevails in toner import appeal
Printer manufacturer Lexmark has won an appeal on the third-party US resale of its printer cartridges originally destined for markets outside North America. The appeals court ruled in a 10-2 vote in favor of Lexmark's demand to stop the sale and against Impression Products, both on the toner cartridge resale matter, as well as a related matter regarding overturning the reseller's refilling one-use cartridges and selling those in the US market. The ruling has ramifications in the tech industry, as well as the pharmaceutical and medical technology markets. Impression Products promises an appeal before the supreme court. http://reut.rs/1SLVmmG
AT&T expands BOGO promo to iPhone 6s
Beginning today, new and existing AT&T customers can purchase a new iPhone 6s and get another one free when adding a second line. Over the weekend, customers must purchase two phones through AT&T Next (one can be an existing number), and add both phones to a qualified plan. AT&T notes that "after three bill cycles or less" the account will start to receive up to $650 spread out over 30 monthly bill credits to offset the cost of the installment plan for the phone. Taxes are due at time of sale. http://soc.att.com/1SLUP4k