Western Digital Releases Scorpio Notebook Drives

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Date: Monday, May 21st, 2007, 11:39
Category: News

On Monday, hard drive manufacturer Western Digital announced that the company has started shipping its 250 gigabyte Scorpio SATA drive for laptop systems.
According to Macworld News, the 2.5″ hard features a 12 millisecond seek time and spins at 5,400 RPM with a 1.5 gigabyte per second transfer rate and eight megabytes of cache built into the device. Additional bells and whistles include a ShockGuard firmware technology which works to protect the drive against bumps, an IntelliSeek feature which calculates the optimum seek speed of the read/write head actuator and a WhisperDrive feature designed to reduce noise and conserve power.
The drive also features perpendicular magnetic recording to stack data stored on the drive in a denser formation.
Western Digital is currently selling the Scorpio series in 40, 60, 80, 100, 120, 160, and 250 gigabyte capacities, the 250 gigabyte model retailing for US$199.99 while the other unit prices vary depending on capacity.


Apple Comes Under Legal Fire for Laptop Screens

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Date: Monday, May 21st, 2007, 09:06
Category: News

A class-action lawsuit being brought against Apple claims that the company’s current laptop displays are not capable of displaying millions of colors, despite Apple’s advertising claims.
The claim, according to an article over on Dailytech, states that Apple knowingly shipped displays that did not meet its original claims.
The document then goes on to point out that Apple’s glossy screen technologies, which are currently found on the MacBook laptop, offers users with deeper blacks and more vibrant white colors, but that many users experienced graininess and sparkling effects given the dithering technologies used in the units. A test cited within the document states that the dithering only occurs in the Mac OS X operating system software and that Windows XP users noticed a superior image quality where gradients were concerned.
In addition to being disappointed with their products, users also reported that they were chastised by Apple representatives and employees for appearing to be overtly picky about the quality of their displays. The complaint also illustrates the point that several customers posted messages on Apple’s web forums only to later find their posts altered or entirely removed by forum administrators.
For more information, take a look over at the Apple Core blog entry on this issue and if you have an opinion on this issue, we’d love to hear what you have to say.


QuickTime’s Understated Sidekick: Perian

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Date: Monday, May 21st, 2007, 08:23
Category: Software

Sometimes your friends open up a network port on their Macs and let you see some of what you’ve been missing. And no matter how savvy or cool you think you are with your shareware, workarounds and free programs, they demonstrate something that blows you away.
Recently, a friend showed me Perian, a set of open source QuickTime components that provide additional support for AVI, FLV, 3ivX, DivX, Sorenson H.263 and other video formats. The end result was QuickTime cleanly opening and working with file formats that had previously needed third party programs such as VLC to play back.
Perian 0.5 is a 944 kilobyte download courtesy of cachefly and requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later to run.
If you’re interested, give it a shot and let us know what you make of the experience.
Perian is free yet backed by donations and the development group accepts tips via Paypal. If you like what they’re doing, chip in a little bit and support the effort or take a look at the project’s wiki to learn how to become involved with development and testing.


Adium X Updated to Version 1.0.4

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Date: Monday, May 21st, 2007, 08:00
Category: Software

Adium, the free multiple-protocol chat client with support for environments such as AIM, ICQ, Jabber, MSN, Yahoo!, Google Talk and Novell Groupwise, has been updated to version 1.0.4 and includes bells and whistles such as tabbed messaging and encrypted chat modes for privacy.
The new version, a 13.2 megabyte download, adds the following fixes and changes:
-Fixed a crash introduced in 1.0.3 which could occur when accounts disconnected or status changed.
-Fixed a crash introduced in 1.0.3 which could occur after a chat is closed.
-Fixed group chat when message history is enabled.
-Fixed incorrect updating of icons in an active chat when a contact’s icon changes or your own icon changes.
-Properly upgrade OTR fingerprints and private keys made in Adium 1.0.2 and earlier (#6891).
-Fixed deletion of temporary images when they are no longer needed (#4711 and #6732).
-Fixed a crash when command-dragging the message window (#6873)/
-Improved chat transcript viewer performance after finishing transcript indexing.
-Added ability for external processes to communicate with Adium via Distributed Objects (connection name: @”com.adiumX.adiumX”).
-We now follow updates to the system time zone (#5383).
Adium requires Mac OS X 10.3.9 or later to run and is coded as a Universal Binary capable of running at native speeds on both PowerPC and Intel-based hardware.
If you’re tried the new version and have feedback about it either way, let us know.


PowerPage Podcast Episode 43

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Date: Friday, May 18th, 2007, 18:00
Category: Podcast

PowerPage Podcast LogoEpisode 43 of the PowerPage Podcast is now available. You can either download it from the iTunes Store or directly (01:01’42, 21.9MB, AAC).
Your panel: Jason O’Grady, Rob Parker, Chuck Freedman and Youngmoo Kim.
Topics include: new MacBooks, notebook HDDs and subnotebook rumors.
Subscribe to the PowerPage Podcast directly in iTunes or add the Podcast RSS feed to the newsreader of your choice.
Thank you to The Tragically Hip for allowing us use their music in the podcast. Check out their new album World Container in stores now.


iPhone to Be Available at 2,000 Retail Locations Upon Release

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Date: Friday, May 18th, 2007, 14:46
Category: News

With the launch of the iPhone less than a month away, Bear Sterns analyst Andy Neff has returned after a sit-down meeting with Apple executives Ron Johnson (the head of the retail division) and Tom Boger (the Director of the Mac Product Division) with news that the handset will be available in about 2,000 stores come the launch.
According to MacNN, the iPhone will be sold exclusively in Apple’s and AT&T‘s retail locations. This breaks down to approximately 160 Apple Store locations and 1,840 AT&T wireless shops.
“Apple affirmed its goal of June release for iPhone and expressed confidence in meeting its target of 10 million unit shipments in 2008 given iPhone’s superior user experience, which Apple referred to as ‘transformational,'” wrote Neff.
Neff added that for international store openings, the iPhone would first appear in regions with a high Apple installed base such as the United Kingdom and Japan and expand from there.
We’ll post more information on this as soon as it becomes available, but if you see or hear something cool from an Apple Store or AT&T location in the next few weeks, let us know.


Apple Files Patent for Thinner, Stronger Notebook Design

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Date: Friday, May 18th, 2007, 11:12
Category: News

A December, 2006 patent submitted to the United States Patent and Trademark Office offers a view of what Apple may have in mind for its future notebooks.
While the trend has historically been to make laptops lighter, companies know this is a trade off in terms of durability.
“Unfortunately, increased weight may lead to user dissatisfaction, and bowing may damage the internal parts of the portable computer,” the company wrote in the filing, as covered on AppleInsider.
Additionally, an increased need to electromagnetic shielding has also made designs that much bulkier. In the patent, Apple proposes the idea of an enclosure using at least two uniqe parts to form a single composite structure held together with structural glue as well as the idea of a two-part enclosure being electrically bonded together to form a conductive surface that would both shield the device as well as allow electricity to pass through it. This technique, if viable, would allow manufacturers to build small enclosures around tightly spaced sets of components as opposed to using pre-formed casings or heavy fasteners to perform the same task.
According to an example given within the patent, the glue used to join two components could shift between two states; a liquid state to create a bond and a solid state to hold the structure together. This would allow for multiple parts to be placed in desired positions throughout the device.
For the aforementioned electrical bond, the patent describes a system in which a conductive bridge is electrically bonded to a segment of the conductive layer and to a portion of the laptop’s top plate. The conductive bridge would act as a singular electrical structure and allow current to pass through it while acting as a shield.
The patent is currently credited to Michael Kriege, Dan Hong, John DiFonzo, Stephen Zadesky, David Lynch, David Lundgren, and Nick Merz.


NitroAV Releases Professional ExpressCard Interface Adapter

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Date: Friday, May 18th, 2007, 08:30
Category: News

On Thursday, NitroAV announced that it had released its two-port NitroAV eSATA II 3Gb/s Professional ExpressCard Interface Adapter.
The adapter uses the MacBook Pro’s ExpressCard slot and features a pair of SATA II ports. Users can hot-swap drives through the adapter as well as use 54 mm card slots with the device according to The Mac Observer.
Full Mac OS X drivers for the card can be found over at siliconimage.com and the adapter, which retails for US$69.95 requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later to function.
The adapter is immediately available for shipping.


iPhone Earns FCC Approval

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Date: Friday, May 18th, 2007, 07:13
Category: News

On Thursday, the Federal Communications Commission approved Apple’s long-awaited iPhone combination phone and music player. The device will hit store shelves next month.
“The iPhone has passed its required FCC certification milestones and is on schedule to ship in late June as planned,” said Natalie Kerris, Director of Apple Music PR.
According to Macworld News, the iPhone will support Bluetooth and Wi-Fi protocols and operate in the 850, 900, 1800 and 1900 MHz frequency bands. The unit has currently been approved to operate on EDGE networks, despite the fact that several cell phone operators have upgraded their networks to operate at 500 Kb/s, a speed which is more than twice as fast as the EDGE protocol.
The FCC also released documents which Apple wished kept private (see Jason O’Grady’s Apple Core blog for further information on which materials were requested to be held back).
Keeping in synch with recent announcements and offers, AT&T will initially be the exclusive provider for the iPhone. The carrier permitted employees testing the iPhone to take the units outside of their offices according to an anonymous source within the company. The source has stated that the device’s features are being activated individually and so far, users are unable to play music watch videos or use the device’s visual voicemail feature.
Stay tuned for additional details as they surface.


Garmin Loader Beta Hits for Macs

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Date: Thursday, May 17th, 2007, 12:36
Category: News

Almost 18 months after its initial promise, Garmin has finally released a beta version of its navigation loader software Mac OS X. The software, known as a POI loader, allows users to load MapSource data to the device via your Mac as well as install waypoint and trip planning programs as well.
For additional details, check out the Apple Core blog and if you’ve seen similar navigation applications that have proven useful for the Mac, let us know.