VLC Media Player Updated to 0.8.6b

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Date: Thursday, April 19th, 2007, 07:11
Category: Software

VLC, the open source media player client, has received another update, pushing the version up to 0.8.6b. The new version, which measures between 13 and 23 megabytes depending on the specific client chosen for download, offers the following bug fixes and feature improvements:
Notable bug fixes:
-Improvements to out-of-bound read in demuxers.
-Demuxers crashes (incl. CVE-2007-0256).
-Mac OS X interface crashes.
-VP31 decoding on Windows platforms.
-Direct3D Video Output modifications for Vista compatibility.
-Correct behavior for feeding streams to Icecast or Shoutcast servers.
-Enhanced Flash Video support incl. VP61 and VP60.
-Teletext subtitles (telx) support.
-Rectified web browser plug-in behaviour and improved usability.
Mac OS X Interface & Port:
-Diverse usability improvements.
-New wizard option to embed subtitles.
-Screensaver/automatic sleep mode is enabled when a video is paused.
-Improved Delete-Preferences-Script.
VLC requires Mac OS X 10.3.9 or later to run and is available in PowerPC-native, Intel-native and Universal Binary formats. The program has gained popularity over the years in that it’s been able to play formats that Apple’s QuickTime software has not yet developed support for or may be legally constrained from supporting for some time given ownership and licensing terms.
If you’ve tried the new version and had either positive or negative experiences with it, let us know.


Apple and Cisco Discussing Ways to Make Respective “iPhone” Devices Cooperate

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Date: Wednesday, April 18th, 2007, 15:55
Category: News

Despite the near-legal-battle that ensued over the “iPhone” name a few months ago, Apple and Cisco have revealed that the two firms are looking to make their respective iPhone devices interoperable (Cisco’s device is a VoIP-based telephone and is currently on the market while Apple’s iPhone is currently in development).
The firms, which settled their dispute out of court, reached an accord in which each company has the right to use its name on its products according to AppleInsider. One condition of the agreement was for the two companies to investigate possibilities for interoperability in the areas of security as well as consumer and enterprise communications.
Last week, Cisco Chief Development Office Charlie Giancarlo revealed that Apple CEO Steve Jobs had held discussions with Cisco’s team as to how to make the iPhone compatible with Cisco’s consumer and business products.
“We’re optimistic, but it’s still early,” said Giancarlo, adding that ways in which the companies’ products can work together “are now being investigated by both technical teams.”
Giancarlo commented that the discussions are more centered around making Apple’s iPhone work with Cisco products and allowing the iPhone to work with Cisco’s corporate desk phone systems and have both sets of devices be capable of services such as instant messaging and teleconferencing.


TuneView Now Available in Black, Receives Firmware Update

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Date: Wednesday, April 18th, 2007, 10:42
Category: News

Third party peripheral maker KeySpan has announced that it has released its TuneView remote control in black as well as updated it associated firmware.
The TuneView, which retails for US$179, functions as a remote control for fourth and fifth generation iPods as well as the iPod Nano and iPod Mini models and features a built in LCD screen that users can use to navigate through an iPod’s contents and doesn’t require a line of sight to interact with the iPod according to Macworld News.
The firmware, which reached version 1.2, is a 282 kilobyte download that allows for quicker scrolling through an iPod’s menu, improves wake-on-sleep performance and adds the ability to just to a specific first letter on a list of files. The updater applies to both the TuneView remote itself as well as its dock connector, which is updated in a separate process from the remote control.
If you’ve tried the new firmware and had either a positive or negative experience with it, let us know.


Saitek Releases Obsidian Scroll-Touch Wireless Mouse

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Date: Wednesday, April 18th, 2007, 09:51
Category: News

On Tuesday, Saitek‘s US division released the Obsidian, a new wireless mouse that replaces the standard scroll wheel with a touch-sensitive scroll pad and seam-free top buttons.
According to Electronista, the Obsidian also features hidden navigation buttons in the concentric patterns on the mouse’s sides and operates on two lithium-ion batteries as well as an included recharge cradle and spare battery pack. The mouse is managed by a 1,000 DPI sensor and functions on the Mac OS X, Windows 2000, Windows XP and Windows Vista operating systems.
The Obsidian will be available via Saitek and retailers for US$50.


Blue Raven Begins Selling Replacement iPod Batteries

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Date: Wednesday, April 18th, 2007, 08:08
Category: News

On Tuesday, Blue Raven Technology announced that it had released a complete line of iPod batteries for first through fifth generations iPods as well as the iPod Mini. The batteries will be available at birck and mortar and online locations such as CompUSA, Micro Center and Amazon.com according to iLounge and claim to offer an additional 30% more capacity than Apple’s standard iPod battery.
The company claims replacing the iPod’s battery to be easy and inexpensive, the kit including tools and instructions as to how to perform the procedure.
Prices start at US$29.95 before shipping and handling.


Arkansas to Implement iPods and Wired School Bus in Technology Program

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Date: Wednesday, April 18th, 2007, 07:16
Category: News

Arkansas’ Sheridan school district will be trying something different in order to get the most out of the three hour daily commute some of its students have to endure in order to get to classes. The Aspirnaut Initiative, a three-year trial, will bring laptops, wireless Internet access and iPods aboard Sheridan’s Bus 46, wherein the students will use iPods to listen to educational podcasts and “high ability” students will be provided laptops to go online and use web-based learning tools according to ars technica.
During this time, students may be able to receive course credits for time spent learning on the bus and at the end of the trial period, students who complete the program would be allowed to keep the iPods and laptops.
The program, which is funded by donations from Vanderbilt University (the idea is the brainchild of biochemist Bill Hudson) and fund-raising, will limit its efforts to Bus 46 and may have greater success than efforts to raise funds entirely through taxes and public funding, wherein a recent Michigan effort came under fire for its attempts to allocate US$38 million for a technology program wherein the highlights included providing an iPod for every student in the state. The effort was defeated during legislative debate and three lawmakers who had received a compensated research trip to Apple’s headquarters came under fire to pay back the air fare.
Still, if it works, this could be something cool and at least that much more productive than the buses we rode to school on so many years ago.


Adobe Unveils Its Own Media Player

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Date: Tuesday, April 17th, 2007, 12:25
Category: News

Amidst the product introductions of the National Association of Broadcasters Show being held in Las Vegas, Adobe announced yesterday that it will be releasing a media player for both the Mac OS X and Windows operating systems.
Designed as a standalone desktop version of the company’s Flash Player web browser plug-in, Adobe Media Player is based on the recently released Apollo platform and is expected to go into beta later this year with the final product arriving towards the end of the 2007 calendar year according to Wired.
Adobe’s Flash Player, which holds a strong market share, is expected to grow, the company gambling on this as major sites such as YouTube rely heavily on the Flash Player format. The desktop version will be compete against Windows Media Player and contain similar digital rights management protections as the ones found in Microsoft’s Media Player in order to appease what the company terms “content publishers”.
Adobe Media Player will incorporate featres such as RSS subscriptions, online and offline video playback, on-demand streaming, live streaming, progressive download and protected download-and-play.
Two features that may prove controversial with the upcoming software are a mechanism that will embed advertising in downloaded clips in a manner that can’t be separated from the content. The second, termed a “security” model, will tie downloaded content to specific machines or users. The company has also announced that it will boost video fidelity on its Flash video format, albeit specific details are sparse for the time being.


Apple Introduces Final Cut Studio 2 at NAB

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Date: Tuesday, April 17th, 2007, 08:45
Category: News

On Sunday, Apple introduced Final Cut Pro, the newest edition of its video production suite as well as new version of its component programs; Final Cut Pro 6, Soundtrack 2, Compressor 3, Motion 3 and a new program called Color.
The suite, which is priced at US$1,299 for the full version and US$499 for the upgrade version from Final Cut Studio to Final Cut Studio 2. Upgrades from Final Cut Pro to Final Cut Studio 2 will run US$699 according to The Mac Observer.
The new version, which hits the shelves in May, offers the following new features and fixes:
-Final Cut Pro 6 has gained the ability to mix and match most video formats as well as their frame rates in a single timeline without transcording. The program now supports ProRes 422, 10-bit 4:2:2 post production format that can create HD quality files at SD file sizes, a SmoothCam feature that removes camera movement and the ability to edit Motion templates.
Click the jump for the full story…


Microsoft Introduces Silverlight Plug-In at NAB

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Date: Tuesday, April 17th, 2007, 07:28
Category: News

On Monday, Microsoft introduced video professionals attending the NAB conference Silverlight, a Mac and PC-compatible web browser plug-in similar to Adobe’s Flash paired with what the company considered video streaming superior to Apple’s QuickTime. The program, which is currently available as a public beta (or “technology preview”), is available for download with a general release planned later this month according to Macworld News.
Previously known as WPF/E, Silverlight is designed around vector-based graphics, text, animation, media and overlays while using existing back-end web and infrastructure tools such as Apache, PHP, JavaScript and XHTML. On the Mac end, Microsoft has stated that the plug-in works with both Firefox and Safari while on the Windows end the plug-in is designed around Internet Explorer 7.
Looking to charge out of the gate upon release, Microsoft has already contracted with several marquee names to distribute content such as Akamai Technologies, Brightcove, Eyeblaster, Major League Baseball and Netflix. The company has also created a Windows-only content development suite called Expression, which is being offered as an alternative to the recently-released Adobe Creative Suite 3.
Click the jump for the full story…


Intel Lays Out Penryn and Quad-Core Mobile Chip Details

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Date: Monday, April 16th, 2007, 12:33
Category: News

On Monday, Intel offered a preview of chips models expected to appear for its mobile markets and also described a quad-core mobile chip expected to appear next year.
The company stated that it would be expanding on its current mobile offerings with a chip based upon the Penryn processor, which functions as a 45 nanometer shrunken design of its current chip designs. The first Penryn chips are slated to go into production later this year and be introduced into devices in the second half of 2008 according to AppleInsider.
An Intel representative stated that the Penryn design could be plugged directly into the same architecture that will ship next May, thus enabling a fast ramp-up process.
The company also unveiled details about a quad-core Penryn mobile processor due for release during the 2008 calendar year. The processor will be targeted towards high-level gaming and mobile workstations, albeit won’t be seen in most notebook devices. Repersentatives commented that the chip’s architecture will differ considerably from the company’s current quad-core server and desktop processors, which are designed around two dual-cor units paired together. The company is considering placing all four cores on a single piece of silicon, thereby increasing speeds and using less energy.