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MacSpeech Dictate 1.3
MacSpeech has launched an update to its speech recognition software, MacSpeech Dictate 1.3. The application allows verbal commands to control functions such as navigating menus or opening programs and new windows. The latest version adds a new Help Book system, two microphone status indicators, and new commands for document navigation, key presses, key combinations, and training cancellation. Dictate 1.3 also fixes reported bugs and offers several general enhancements.
PulpMotion 2.1 update
Aquafadas on Tuesday introduced PulpMotion 2.1, an update to its slideshow animation application for the Mac. The newest version of the software now provides integration with iLife '09, and works with the new "Faces" feature in iPhoto. This ability is possible with both the standard and advanced edition of PulpMotion. Also included in the update is the integration of the latest version of Slideshow 3D '09, improved support for Lightroom 2, and various speed and memory improvements when exporting.
Intel sues Psion
Intel has joined the fight against Psion over the "netbook" trademark, arguing that the public already uses the term in a generic manner to represent "extensions of the notebook category, smaller computers purpose-built for mobile Internet access," according to the Courthouse News Service. The chip-maker also pointed out that Psion trademarked the term for for a line of notebook computers that has been out of production since 2003.
Autodesk Alias on Mac
Autodesk has finally brought its Alias design and rendering suite to Macs. Though well-known, the software was previously only available for the Windows platform, limiting its practical application in an industry where Mac software is relatively common. A senior product marketing manager at Autdoesk, Rob Hoffmann, is however known to have said the Mac is no more or less important than Windows or Linux.
OWC Blu-ray burner
Other World Computing has launched the Mercury Pro BDR-203, a quad-interface external Blu-ray burner that supports 8X write speeds of up to 2GB per minute. Interface options include FireWire 800, FireWire 400, USB 2.0 and eSATA, with plug-and-play support for both Windows and Mac platforms. Along with Blu-ray discs, the burner can also write to DVD-RAM, DVD Dual-Layer R/RW, DVD-R/RW and CD-R/RW.
Patent Grabber, Tetris
Contour 1.1 ($50) is a story development tool that can help with the process of turning a movie idea into a full outline. The software uses a fill-in the-blanks approach where the user is asked series of questions on topics like loglines, the protagonist's growth and the beats to be used in each of four acts. The update has added new sample content and allows users to enter Contour XML files form the File menu. Version 1.1 also includes several small interface enhancements and bug fixes. [Download - 4.6MB]
Snake XT, myPixelArt
FilmScope Worldwide ($10) provides film enthusiasts with international box office results and expanded film information. Fans can search for films with the "Smart Type" feature, which allows users to quickly look for movies by actor, director or title. The application also features a calendar tool which provides a schedule of upcoming film releases, and a "Top Films" section that shows the top films of all time based on genre, rating or release year.
doubleTwist beta for Mac
doubleTwist has released a public beta of its media synchronization and sharing application for the Mac platform. The program intends to eliminate DRM restrictions, with sync support for content from digital cameras, MP3 players or PSPs, among other devices. The media can then be played or published to YouTube, Facebook or Flickr. Users can also send the files to their friends.
Google backs EU
Google has jumped into the conflict between the European Commission and Microsoft, backing the EU in the antitrust proceedings. The commission has objected to the practice of bundling Internet Explorer with Windows, which it claims "harms competition between web browsers, undermines product innovation and ultimately reduces consumer choice." The search-engine giant must first ask for permission from the EU to provide arguments, as a third party, in the ongoing litigation.
Curve tops retail sales
For the second time in as many months, a list compiled by AvianResearch reveals the BlackBerry Curve is the best-selling handset in retail stores, with Apple's iPhone 3G again taking the runner-up spot. The sales numbers were collected for the month of December from the four major US wireless carriers, including AT&T, Verizon, Sprint and T-Mobile, which collectively account for 85 percent of all wireless subscribers.
Toshiba 32nm flash in fall
Toshiba has shown a 300mm wafer with 32nm, 32-gigabit (4GB) NAND flash memory chips at the recent International Nanotechnology Exhibition & Conference. The flash memory chips are based on 3-bit per cell technology that lets the company produce store much more data in a similar amount of space. Despite this, Toshiba notes it didn't make any significant changes from its earlier 43nm wafers, which used a similar floating gate structure to manage the flow of power.
Flexible touchscreen LCD
Arizona State University's Flexible Display Center (FDC), along with its military and industry partners, are laying claim to producing the first active-matrix display with a flexible touchscreen. The device uses an active-matrix electrophoretic display tech from E-Ink Corp. along with materials from DuPont Teijin Films for the flexible touchscreen instead of the typical glass used in today's touchscreens. Using a solid glass touchscreen panel defeats the purpose of a flexible display as the package cannot be folded without incurring damage.
New Acer Aspire One images
With just images to go on, a new leak obtained by SlashGear shows a new variant of Acer's 10-inch Aspire One netbook. The images show a chassis thinner than that of the recently outed D150 which sported a 160GB hard drive, suggesting less necessary space; the return of the SD memory expansion slot also implies it will be used to bolster reduced storage inside. Before Acer moved to 10-inch netbooks from 8.9-inch versions, it used such a slot to bolster the limited storage capacity for its SSD-equipped Aspire Ones.
Intel denied oral hearing
The latest update in the long-running European Commission anti-trust case against Intel has the chipmaker finally responding to the Supplementary Statement of Objections (SSO) filed by the EU in July. Intel has confirmed it made a response on February 5th but has been declined an opportunity to immediately defend itself in an oral hearing. The rejection comes after the company had failed to provide a response for seven months since the July start of the case and had been denied further delays.
Kogan netbook coming
Australia's Kogan is set to launch a 10-inch netbook running on an open-source Linux operating system, according to a Monday report that includes an interview with company founder Ruslan Kogan. Like others in the category, the netbook will reportedly sport an Intel Atom CPU and a 160GB hard drive but will drop the usual Windows XP in favor of its free, open-source alternative. Exactly which Linux kernel will be used is still being decided, however. Users will be able to upgrade the netbook's 1GB of RAM to 2GB.
Kaufman AAPL downgrade
Apple may do worse than previously expected in the financial quarter ending with March, according to Kaufman Bros'. Shaw Wu. The analyst comments that while Apple was recently able to return to the $100 price point with its shares, it has since slipped again, in what Wu attributes to a general market sell-off, and overall worries about Apple's growth potential in the context of a global recession. Worsening matters is Apple's signature iMac desktop, which supply chain checks are said to show is not selling well.
Microsoft overpays workers
After making a clerical error on the severance pay of 25 laid-off employees, overpaying them and asking for the difference back, Microsoft has said it will let affected ex-employees keep the money. Lisa Brummel, the senior vice president of human resources at the software giant, calls the error a unique circumstance and that the "normal course of business doesn't really apply." The overpayments range from a few hundred dollars to more than $5,000, but average between $4,000 and $5,000.
Safari 4 Beta First Look
Apple's release of a public beta for Safari 4 is the company's first truly major attempt to compete in the web browser space since, arguably, Safari 2. But while it incorporates several new features that are absolutely crucial to its acceptance as a mainstream app, a number of its most important features are actually drawn from some of its closest competitors, especially Google's Chrome. We examine why this is a good thing, as well as some of the more original features, in a special first look at what might be Apple's most important release yet.
Apple: Macs $1399 or less
Currently the Apple store is offering six refurbished Mac models for $1,399 or less. Starting at $849 is the white MacBook with 2.1GHz processor, 1GB of memory and 120GB hard drive. Next up is the 1.6GHz MacBook Air with 2GB of memory and 80GB hard drive for $999. The unibody 2.0GHz MacBook with 2GB of memory and a 160GB hard drive is priced at $1,099. Another MBA configuration also falls into this category and has a 1.8GHz processor, 2GB of RAM and 64GB solid-state drive for $1,299. A 20-inch iMac with 2.66GHz processor, 2GB of memory and 320GB hard drive is also priced at $1,299. Lastly is the 2.4GHz unibody MacBook with 2GB of memory and 250GB hard drive for $1,399.
Dell Mini 9 with Ubuntu
Dell has seen steady sales growth and low return rates with its Inspiron Mini 9 netbooks running Ubuntu, despite reports that MSI experienced substantially higher return rates with its Wind series running SuSE Linux compared to the XP platform, according to Laptop. A third of the Mini 9 devices are shipped with Linux. "We have done a very good job explaining to folks what Linux is," says Jay Pinkert of Dell.
New iMacs imminent?
New iMacs with NVIDIA-based graphics may be closing on a release, in spite of legal disputes, sources claim. Existing models of the computer are said to be in low supply with resellers, and Apple educational salesmen are reportedly being given the go-ahead to offer special discounts. An image has also been leaked of new marketing material, which touts NVIDIA graphics for both 20- and 24-inch sizes.
DealNN: Kensington iPod ch
A variety of discounted items are currently being featured at DealNN. First up is the Kensington battery pack and charger for iPod and iPhone, priced at $29.99 at Amazon.com. That's a $50 price cut off the original price of $79.99. This charger provides up to 100 hours of music playback, 21 hours of video playback or up to six hours of talk time on a single charge.
Nokia cost cutting
As part of a wide plan to cut costs, Nokia is now encouraging its employees to take advantage of a voluntary resignation package or go on short-term unpaid leaves or sabbaticals. The company is also pushing employees to take their holiday as time off instead of cash compensation. "If successful, the voluntary initiatives will lessen the need for involuntary redundancies," said Hallstein Moerk, Nokia's Head of Human Resources.
Dedham, Mass. Apple Store
The area surrounding Boston, Massachusetts will soon gain another Apple Store, reports indicate. The new outlet is set to open in the town of Dedham, just southwest of Boston. It should be located within the Legacy Place mall, which is being built alongside Interstate 95 but will generally target richer customers with attractions such as L.L. Bean and Whole Foods, as well as office space and a movie theater.
Enfocus PDF Standardizer
Developer XChange has announced Enfocus PDF Standardizer 1.0, an application meant to handle comprehensive standardization and pre-flight checks for PDF documents. The software in fact combines the earlier Alwan CMYK Optimizer, Enfocus FullSwitch and Enfocus PitStop Server, and is able to impose a variety of standards, including color protocols such as ISO 12647. The result is used to ensure accurate printing.
Intel bashes NVIDIA Ion
As the competition between rivals Intel and NVIDIA heats up, recently even crossing into the legal arena, Intel has released a document called "Nvidia Ion Competitive Positioning Guide," which brazenly criticizes the new platform. The document, spotted by bit-tech.net, claims that the Ion is nothing new and simply another SKU in the chipset family that contains the GeForce 9400, 9300, 9100M G or 8200M G components.
Sony Lilac PSP and AC Pack
Taking advantage of its in-house Destination PlayStation event, Sony today gave the PSP a pair of new bundles that include a rare new color option. The Hannah Montana Entertainment Pack both includes a copy of the singer's PSP game as well as a new lilac PSP to suit its target audience; while the system itself is similar to the current PSP-3000 with a built-in mic and improved screen, the new pack adds a UMD with Hannah TV episodes, a 2GB Memory Stick and stickers to customize the look.
Dell Studio 1555 ships
Dell is using Singapore as the first venue to offer its upgraded Studio 15-series notebook, the Studio 1555. It sports a new LED-backlit, 15.6-inch screen with a 16:9 aspect ratio and a 1366x768 resolution. The notebook offers the first application of ATI's newest mid-range graphics chip, the Mobility Radeon HD 4570, with a dedicated 512MB of video memory.
No Office 14 until 2010
Presenting today in a "Strategic Update Meeting" mainly intended for financial analysts, Microsoft has additionally revealed that Office 14, the next anticipated version of its productivity suite, will not ship this year. Rumors had suggested that the software would launch by the end of 2009, in keeping with an accelerated launch for Windows 7. A single release candidate for Windows 7 is scheduled for April 10th, which may foretell a summer ship date instead of one in late 2009 or early 2010. A simultaneous Office release could help spur corporate upgrades.
iTunes Pass debuts
Apple has introduced the concept of the iTunes Pass, a new shopping option in the music section of the iTunes Store. The Pass automatically subscribes a person to all of the tracks and videos in a particular collection, downloading existing material and anything new as it becomes available. Apple notes that all the material provided in a Pass is DRM-free, and encoded with 256kbps AAC audio.
Marvell Plug Computing
Marvell on Tuesday announced the introduction of Plug Computing, a concept which involves a tiny computer module that plugs into a wall socket and hooks up to a home network via a gigabit Ethernet cable to run network-based services while saving energy compared to traditional PCs. The small PC will let users access services such as social networks, multimedia sites or personal libraries via their wireless networks on their personal electronics devices without the need for a server or PC to be up and running.
GTX 200M GPU Next Week
NVIDIA is poised to update its flagship notebook graphics chipsets at the CeBIT expo with new models that should include firsts for the category, a new scoop reveals. Without pointing to specific sources, Fudzilla claims the GeForce GTX 260M and 280M will appear next week and will be based on a smaller, more recent 55 nanometer process that will let NVIDIA include a full 128 visual processing cores and a 256-bit wide memory bus, both of which are relatively new to notebooks. NVIDIA is said to expect the top-end 280M to run about 30 percent faster than AMD's ATI Mobility Radeon HD 4870 and also outperform its own 9800M GTX.
Corel Painter 11 launches
Corel has announced a February 25th release for Painter 11, its key illustration software. New are a variety of features, such as new marker, pen, pencil and chalk brushes which behave differently depending on options or drawing technique. Users also have access to customizable hard media types, and improved selection options including a polygonal mode for the Lasso tool.
SideWinder X8 shipping
Microsoft on Tuesday announced its SideWinder X8 wireless gaming mouse introduced in the fall will be shipping this week. The peripheral is Microsoft's most advanced with a BlueTrack blue LED sensorand has a tracking range of between 250dpi to 4,000dpi while also updating at 13,000 frames per second and covering distances of up to 120 inches per second.
EU Requiring Non-IE Web
The European Commission late Monday said it plans to require that Microsoft offer web browsers other than Internet Explorer in Windows. The EU body's spokesman Jonathan Todd says a final decision in the matter would mandate a choice of which browsers to download and install in addition to the existing ability to specify a default app. The feature would potentially involve a portal that lets users choose the browser early on.
Apple posts Safari 4 beta
Samsung security phone
Samsung announced on Tuesday that it will soon begin shipping its newest handset, the W7100, which is marketed to women and children for its personal security features. The flip phone can emit an emergency signal as loud as 100dB to call passersby for help as well as send its location to local authorities along with an emergency help message. The handset can also be programmed to send the emergency message as it's being turned off. The W7100 will also emit a bright flash when lost in darkness, though how it knows when it's been lost isn't specified.
Xbox 360 RE5 Bundle
Microsoft today fulfilled rumored plans and unveiled a special, Resident Evil 5 limited edition of the Xbox 360. The new model paints the 120GB Xbox 360 Elite in red with a matching controller and bundles both a copy of the edition's namesake survival horror game as well as a code for a free copy of Super Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix. A wired headset also translates from the normal black model.
SanDisk ImageMate 2009
SanDisk's opening moves for PMA began today with two new high-speed card readers. The ImageMate All-in-One and ImageMate Multi-Card both have a more compact design with a removable tripod that lets them sit upright in tight spaces. They also transfer more quickly than past models: the All-in-One can sustain up to 34MB per second for an Extreme IV CompactFlash card, while the Multi-Card peaks at the maximum 30MB/sec read and 27MB/sec write speeds of an Extreme III SDHC card.
VUDU HD Movie Sales
VUDU on Tuesday staked out its position network media hubs by becoming the first to sell permanent downloads of movies in HD for its own device. The VUDU Box, XL and XL2 can now keep full-length titles in either the company's regular HD as well as in its 1080p HDX format rather than having to rent them. The initial lineup will include movies like Man on Wire and War, Inc. and should see every future movie made available to buy as well as rent in HD on the same day as it's available on DVD.
Olympus this morning preceded PMA with a launch for the E-620. The camera replaces the mid-grade E-520 and is not only smaller but also billed as the smallest DSLR with in-camera image stabilization; it also gets the 12.3-megapixel sensor depth and TruePic III+ image engine of the E-30 that let it shoot between ISO 100 (in extended mode) and ISO 3,200, but scales back to 4 frames per second and a 7-point autofocusing system.
Hitachi acquires Fabrik
Hitachi GST today has announced it will be acquiring Fabrik, a privately-held supplier of personal and professional storage devices. As a result of the integration, Fabrik will remain intact and work as the core of Hitachi GST's newly-formed external storage business. In addition, Hitachi will also be offering full support of Fabrik's G-Technology and SimpleTech storage brands. According to President of Hitachi Steve Miligan, the combination of the two companies will expand their market reach and bolster their combined product range.
Moto to sell Good Tech
Motorola has found a buyer for Good Technology, its mobile e-mail division that it acquired two years ago for $500 million, according to the Wall Street Journal. Visto Corp will acquire the business, adding to its current mobile messaging services that are available through carriers such as T-Mobile International and Vodafone Group PLC. The purchase could help the provider compete against RIM, the company that currently holds a dominant market share in the mobile e-mail segment.
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