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Super Talent has announced its SATA II UltraDrive SSDs are now shipping with Firmware version 1370. The new firmware offers improved performance when used with Microsoft Windows 7 and increases the maximum read and write speed of both the UltraDrive ME and UltraDrive LE. Each UltraDrive is designed for notebook computers or devices supporting 2.5-inch drives; it features shock and vibrations resistance as well as high tolerance to extreme temperatures.
ProjectsWizards has released an update to its Merlin project management application for both the iPhone/iPod touch and Mac, along with a new version of its Merlin Server bringing it to 2.7. The upgrade to Merlin 2.7 allows users to share projects with the iPhone and iPod touch and adds support for the Merlin Server. By enabling the three applications to work together users can access and share their Merlin projects from any iPhone, Mac, or supported web browser.
CrumplePop has released Freemeo, an HD title effects plug-in for Final Cut Pro. Freemeo enables users to create high definition text elements and lower thirds in the same style as Vimeo videos. The plug-in works directly within Final Cut Pro, helping to keep users editing process centralized in one application.
The first of Research in Motion's next-wave touchscreen BlackBerries has been spotted tonight in photos from a reliable source. The images from CrackBerry show a device similar to the BlackBerry Storm but in a noticeably sleeker profile and with styling cues on the back and sides not unlike the Driftwood (also known as the Onyx). They also reveal that the camera will remain at the same 3.2 megapixels as before, however, implying a conservative upgrade.
Steve Jobs' Amazon account has supposedly been hacked, claims an individual identifying himself as "orin0co," according to Cult of Mac. The hacker asserts he was able to gain access to the account by sending Jobs a forged, official-looking e-mail to Jobs, tricking the Apple CEO to log into a fake Amazon account, and subsequently providing the hacker with the personal login information.
Coladia has released its latest single-player video game, Cleopatra: a Queen's Destiny. The POV game takes place amidst the civil war between Cleopatra's supporters and her brother and husband, Ptolemy. Players must find Cleopatra's kidnapped astrologist, Akkod, and his daughter.
Virtual Programming has released several game-series compilations including Europa Universalis III Complete, Victoria Complete, Crusader Kings Complete, and Hearts of Iron II Complete. Each item in the package integrates the original Paradox Interactive game with update modules. Virtual Programming has also released its newest game, Galactic Assault: Prisoner of Power.
Bodelin Technologies has released ProPrompter, a teleprompter application for use with the iPhone or iPod touch. The application enables each mobile device to be used as a teleprompter, with options for screen scrolling, several speed presets, both landscape and portrait modes, and on-screen help. ProPrompter can also be adjusted for improved readability in brighter settings by changing background and text colors.
Mariner Software has released a document management application for the Mac, Mariner Paperless. Following an earlier announcement, Mariner has rebranded the previous ReceiptWallet software as Paperless. Users can scan or import receipts, documents, and other forms of paperwork, while optical character recognition (OCR) helps organize the content as PDFs. Users can also print and e-mail any files or documents from the software interface.
Amuse has introduced My Living Desktop 4, an update to its video desktop and screen saver utility, Serene Saver Pro. The software can be used to replace the standard still desktop with a moving wallpaper that plays high-definition movies that the user chooses. A built-in video importer allows a variety of content to be featured in customized moving backgrounds. Users also receive over three-dozen high-definition movies shot from all around the world, with each accompanied by sounds of the natural setting.
Open-Xchange has released its latest server applications, OXteder Mac OS X and OXtender Mobile Web. Both forms of the software enable users to access and edit information and documents stored on the Open-Xchange Server through its native Mac or iPhone applications. Each functions both online and offline, with the server sync updated every time the program is online.
ASUS is set to launch its keyboard PC, the Eee Keyboard, sometime by the end of June, according to Engadget. The device offers an embedded PC driven by an Atom N270 processor, with an 800 by 480 pixel touchscreen display that doubles as a trackpad. The all-in-one runs on Windows XP and is said to include a 32GB SSD, stereo speakers, a microphone and 802.11n or Bluetooth connectivity. An HDMI output can be used to connect an external display.
In brief: My New iPhone, a guide to using the iPhone, will be updated in July following the release of the new iPhone operating system. The current edition can be purchased as a PDF at a reduced price and anyone who pre-orders the new edition will receive this PDF edition for free. Readdle has also announced a sale that offers its ReaddleDocs iPhone application for $5. The application allows users to store files and documents on the iPhone and view them with a built-in document viewer. Meanwhile, Gameloft has released several new screenshots and a trailer for its upcoming game, New York Nights: Success in the City. The game is a life simulation and starts with players arriving in New York trying to start a new and successful life.
HP today issued a US-wide recall through the Consumer Product Safety Commission for 70,000 notebook batteries. The recall affects most Compaq and HP home models sold from August 2007 through March 2008 and is prompted by HP's fears that the lithium-ion pack could overheat, catching fire and potentially burning owners. It cites two incidents in which the battery burst due to internal pressure and caused minor area damage but no injuries.
Intel at the opening of Saarland University's Visual Computing Institute on Wednesday gave clues as to its plans for its many-core Larrabee graphics processor. In a presentation to guests, the semiconductor firm showed that the design uses 32 processor cores and mates each of these with its own vector math unit, allowing each core to process very specialized tasks very efficiently. They also have a pool of cache memory and a memory interface on their edges.
Vodafone UK has announced a new promotion, Vodafone Passport, that will allow customers to make calls or send text and picture messages without paying roaming charges as they travel across 35 countries in Europe this summer. The carrier will also reduce prices for international calls. The changes apply to pay-as-you-go or monthly subscribers, beginning June 1st and running until the end of August.
Feelings of the investment community towards Apple are on an upward trend, according to the most recent polls conducted by Piqqem. Although Apple has never fallen below 2.5 on a 0 to 4 spectrum, the company has shown a slight decline during the past three months, only returning to a more positive trend within recent weeks.
Ubermind has released a more sophisticated version of its Aperture plug-in, Maperture Pro. Both versions of Maperture are designed to infuse Aperture with data from Google Maps, associating photos with the location of their shooting. The Pro version expands on the basic toolset with features such as altitude tagging.
The US Federal Trade Commission today dropped its antitrust case against memory producer Rambus. The company had previously been found guilty of abusing its monopoly power but successfully won an appeal in 2008; the FTC's decision to quit follows after its own appeal was rejected in February and the government body considered its options. Officials say the departure comes after they decide it would "not be in the public interest" to pursue Rambus further.
Apple and AT&T are two of several companies being targeted in a new patent infringement lawsuit, court documents show. The case was initiated by Tune Hunter, a company which owns a patent titled Music identification system, granted in September of 2005. The patent describes "a method for marking the time and the name of the radio station in portable device such as a key holder, watch, cellular phone, beeper or the like which will allow the user to learn via internet [sic] or regular telephone the name of the song, artist and/or music company by matching the stored data with broadcast archive."
Nokia's recently rumored entry into multi-touch phones may come relatively quickly if a slip through Taiwan circuit designers is accurate. They reportedly tell DigiTimes that Nokia has finally settled on Synaptics to provide the circuitry driving at least one phone's touchscreen and "does not rule out" the possibility of the phone supporting multi-touch input, a first for Nokia's handsets. The product would be launched in the summer, though whether it ships at that time or is simply announced isn't apparent.
Telus at midday took a more aggressive step into mobile data by picking up the Sierra Wireless USB 598 as its 3G modem of choice. The stick gives Mac OS X and Windows computers access to the Canadian carrier's EVDO network and, like most newer modems, has its own internal memory that contains the drivers needed to install the adapter without turning to a CD. A microSDHC slot also gives it room for general data storage up to 32GB.
Extensis has released v2.0 of its font server program. Universal Type Server enables users to store fonts on its server, listing them in a single centralized library. Users can activate each font, assigning it to a project to ensure there is font consistency across all users who work on the project.
Sigma on Thursday acted on its word and launched the long-delayed DP2 in the UK. The 14-megapixel camera is a cross between regular compacts and digital SLRs and continues to hinge on its FOVEON sensor, which is significantly larger than in point-and-shoots and helps produce more professional images, particularly in RAW mode. It also gets full manual controls and, since it was first shown last year, now has light sensitivity up to ISO 3,200 as well as a quick-access button for some of the more common camera settings.
ASUS today gave the Eee PC 1008HA launch information for the US. The slimmer, MacBook Air-influenced netbook should be ready for pre-orders on May 18th and will command a slight premium over the 1000HE, costing $429. Specifications are familiar with a 1.66GHz Atom N280, 1GB of RAM and a 160GB hard drive but earns its Seashell nickname through a tapered design that renders the battery non-removable in return for a thickness below 1 inch and a weight of 2.4 pounds.
imeem Mobile (free) lets users search for a favorite music artist and a personalized radio station will be built using songs by that arrests and similar ones. After a user has started to build a profile of their favorite artists they can begin using the Featured Radio which offers recommendations for new music based on listening habits. Users can also upload their own music to an account on imeem and then access it remotely without having to take up space on their device.
YUBZ has released the MAGNUM, a two-in-one portable music player and mobile speaker phone. The Bluetooth device both puts out audio over A2DP and interrupts music to let users take incoming phone calls. To answer a phone call, the power button then functions as an answer key for the speakerphone. The power button then functions as a end call key and the speaker will resume playing music.
Sony today reported its first annual loss in some 14 years, according to the New York Times. During its most recent fiscal year, the company is said to have lost 98.9 billion yen; for the fiscal year ending in March 2010, the company is expecting to record a net loss of 120 billion yen, or $1.26 billion US. The company is only expected to avoid a 150 billion yen loss in part because of newly-favorable Japanese taxes.
Apple's sudden reversal of iPhone ordering policies may extend to future products, an SEC filing reveals. In a newly-submitted 8-K form, Synchronoss Technologies notes that Apple recently began allowing new iPhone 3G customers to effectively handle all steps of a purchase through its website, including ordering, activation and shipping. In the past a visit to an Apple or carrier store was a mandatory step, an obstacle deliberately imposed to discourage unlocking phones for unofficial carriers.
Book publishers have started exploiting the text-to-speech kill switch feature enabled by Amazon for Kindle books, reports show. At least 40 e-books from Random House, including major titles from Toni Morrison and Stephen King, can no longer use the Kindle 2's TTS feature to read the books aloud. Random House hasn't officially announced the move on its own.
Other World Computing on Thursday released the Express USB 2.0, a compact enclosure for 2.5-inch SATA I/II hard drives with heights up to 9.5mm. The device is bus powered, eliminating the need for an AC adapter. Both Windows and Mac systems are supported and the package includes a USB connecting cable and carrying sleeve.
The HDMI Licensing group today provided further details of the HDMI 1.4 spec that will have data become a core feature of the video standard. The technology will add a new pipe known as the HDMI Ethernet Channel (HEC) that can supply up to a 100Mbps Ethernet connection between the device host and others that recognize the format. The approach will let two compatible devices share information without requiring a separate cable and is suggested both as a way of networking close-by devices as well as sharing content across multiple rooms.
rooSwitch 1.5 ($19) allows users to manage multiple profiles for almost any applications data by simpling dragging the application to the main window. It can be used to manage multiple versions of an applications preferences, settings and data files, and features the ability to switch between them. Version 1.5 includes a new option for locking a profile which will prevent any changes to the active profile from being saved when switching to a different profile. The update also includes a document preference to immediately switch to new profiles as they are created, and the ability to select multiple profiles at once for deletion. [Download - 1.1MB]
Apple has registered several new iPhone-related icons in Europe, which when taken together, may illustrate the company's plans for future hardware and software. The icons consist of a road, a flame, a target, a stopwatch and a blank circle; of these the most intelligible may be the first, which could be bound to some form of in-car navigation support. The iPhone 3.0 firmware is known to ready for turn-by-turn navigation, and adding a magnetometer could ensure accurate direction tracking.
Dell has quietly launched several new eco-friendly monitors, including the P2210, E190S and E170S. The P2210 22-inch display supports resolutions up to 1680 by 1050 pixels, with a variety of viewing-angle adjustments. Users can connect to a computer via VGA, DVI-D with HDCP, or DisplayPort connections. The device also provides four USB 2.0 connectors to work as a hub. The company claims to have utilized halogen-reduced materials to minimize environmental impact, while the monitor also meets EPEAT Gold and Energy Star standards.
Verizon as part of a conference call late Wednesday altered its plans for its 4G cellular network. Initially slated for early 2010, the Long Term Evolution (LTE) network is now said by wireless chief Lowell McAdam to be fully commercial for the second half of that year in 20 to 30 markets. Although he doesn'tsay whether there would be any changes to the late 2009 test rollout, McAdam explains that the network won't reach national coverage until 2013 and won't be completely finished until 2015.
MacSpeech Inc. has released v1.5 of its MacSpeech Dictate software application. The program enables hands-free control over any Mac, instead using spoken commands. MacSpeech Dictate 1.5 claims to recognize speech 20 percent more accurately than its predecessor and includes a new profile option to help identify with multiple accents such as Inland North American, Southern North American, and Latino North American.
The App Store has not been as profitable for Apple as one might expect, claims the venture capital firm Lightspeed. The company recently achieved the goal of over 1 billion app downloads, but of these, the ratio of paid apps is said to be anywhere between 1:15 and 1:40, according to people involved in the industry. This translates into just 25 to 60 million downloads which could generate income for Apple.
Rumors of a slimmed-down PlayStation 3 have gained fuel today through a series of Chinese photos that appear to show the console itself. The shots show a much thinner design that, despite its dimensions, nonetheless manages to fit two USB reports and, significantly, a 120GB hard drive. They also show product packaging and a a change away from Sony's heavily used Spiderman font in favor of one closer to the PS2.
AT&T today said it had picked up the spiritual successor to the BlackJack and BlackJack II. Now simply called the Jack, the new QWERTY smartphone upgrades to a 3.2-megapixel camera and carries a significantly larger 256MB of RAM to better juggle tasks. It runs Windows Mobile 6.1 out of the box and, like most modern smartphones, has 3G, assisted GPS and Wi-Fi as standard features. A microSDHC slot supports up to 16GB of storage.
RealNetworks today fought back against Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) claims that it was aiding piracy by filing counterclaims against both six studios in the MPAA and the DVD Copy Control Association. Sent through a Northern District of California court, the complaints accuse both groups of violating antitrust law by colluding together on trying to block legal alternatives to fair use copying of DVDs. Rather than grant copyrights through individual studios, permission is offered solely through a joint agreement between all of the studios and the DVD CCA, effectively letting them exclude anyone they decide offers competition to their own methods.
Apple may not expose any new iPhones at this year's WWDC keynote, claims Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster. Although an announcement of new hardware is anticipated by most analysts and the media, Munster argues that wording in Apple's keynote press release may have been deliberately geared to alter expectations. The company may instead focus on Mac OS X Snow Leopard at WWDC, despite the operating system's distance from release.
Toshiba on Thursday introduced the dynabook SS RX2/WAJ, its latest notebook that features a 512GB SSD. The drive utilizes 2-bit-per-cell multi-level NAND flash memory to quadruple the density compared to the company's previous 128GB offerings, while a new controller is claimed to increase read speeds by 230-percent to 230MB/s. Write speeds have also been boosted by 450-percent to 180MB/s.
AT&T's decision to disallow 3G for the iPhone edition of SlingPlayer may have been motivated as much by desires to quash a competitor as it is to avoid congestion, a claim suggests. Although AT&T's official explanation is that streaming TV consumes too much bandwidth, a tip from Gizmodo purports that the carrier has the ulterior motive of crippling SlingPlayer to protect a future U-verse app. Supposedly called i-Verse, it would let subscribers to AT&T's IPTV service either stream live TV over the 3G network or else play shows already recorded on the DVR.
Verizon has announced it will be getting into the subsidized netbook business with its release of the HP Mini 1151NR, shipping the model May 17th. The netbook is similar to the reference version with a 10-inch LED display, a 1.6GHz Atom N270 processor, 1GB RAM and an 80GB hard drive loaded with Windows XP. New, however, is built-in 3G for Verizon's EVDO network that lets it reach the Internet when its Wi-Fi falls short.
MSI this morning claimed a further foothold in ultraportable PCs by providing early details of two larger X-Slim notebooks. The 14-inch X400 and 15-inch X600 are meant to improve not only on the 13-inch X340 but to offer a still-larger alternative to systems like the MacBook Air; despite their sizes, both are less than an inch thick and weigh far less than other systems in their class at 3.3 pounds for the X400 and 4.6 pounds for the X600. Both also use Intel's Consumer Ultra Low Voltage (CULV) processors to provide better performance than a netbook but with less cost and battery use (as well as less performance) than the Core 2 Duo S used in Apple's system.
Radius Products has launched its TruTune Fine Color Series, a new set of colourful earphones that match Apple’s iPod nano 4G. The TruTune earphones are made from lightweight aluminum and feature a gold-plated stereo mini-plug. Each earphone offers small, medium or large silicone caps to help ensure they fit in the user’s ear. Colors which are currently available are designed to match the nine iPod nano 4G colors and include silver, black, violet, blue, green, yellow, orange, red and pink.
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Apple want ads hint at future Watch faces
An Apple job listing for a dedicated clock face team may suggest future fashion-brand partnerships, possibly in time for the updated watchOS updates that are likely to be revealed at this spring's Worldwide Developer Conference. Since the introduction of watchOS 2, there has only been four new watch faces, but three of them were left over from the first release, with only one truly new one -- the co-branded HermÃ©s face exclusive to that edition. There is a rumored March 15 event, but if that takes place it will likely focus on new band options as regards the Apple Watch. http://apple.co/1O1TbTI
Microsoft may end Office Support Professional prog
Microsoft appears to be either ending or seriously revamping its "Accredited Support Professional Program" for training on Microsoft Office for Mac and iOS it has offered at MacTech conferences since 2013. The program is not on offer at the upcoming MacTech tour, which begins on March 16 in San Francisco and includes a number of other cities. Microsoft has released a statement that it is "evaluating options for 2016, but don't have anything to share at this time." http://bit.ly/1KDz3MQ
Office for Mac v15.18 released
Microsoft has issued an update for the Mac version of its productivity suite, Office 2016. The v15.18 update offers improvements for all of the included apps, such as bringing full screen support to Outlook and allowing Word to save PDF files to flash drives. In addition, a new selection pane has been added to PowerPoint and Excel for keeping track of objects, and shapes can now be added to OneNote notebook pages. The update is free for all users, but requires a Mac running OS X 10.10 or later and a valid Microsoft Office 365 subscription. http://bit.ly/1Q7pAzW
Apple to open new south Florida mall store
According to real estate trade papers in south Florida, Apple has signed a lease for a new retail space in Miami, at the forthcoming Brickell City Centre (yes, the UK spelling is used) open-air mall, which is set to open later this year. The center will feature a five-story shopping area, condominiums, a hotel and office buildings, along with a "climate ribbon" in the shopping area to keep visitors cool, eschewing traditional air conditioning. The exact location of the Apple Store within the plan is not yet clear, but the destination already boasts 75 confirmed stores. http://bit.ly/1Q7n7Wd
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