Voice Recognition Feature Seems Likely for iPhone OS 3.0

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Date: Wednesday, April 22nd, 2009, 08:22
Category: iPhone, Rumor

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As the iPhone OS 3.0 beta software has been picked apart, some interesting new discoveries have emerged for consideration. The latest one, which centers around voice recognition and voice synthesis, may take the cake, though.
According to Ars Technica, the software, nicknamed “Jabbler”, will be built into the SpringBoard application (the software component that controls the home screen, launches other applications and will be the basis of the upcoming Spotlight search feature).
Jabbler will likely have voice functionality similar to the software bundled with the latest iPod Shuffle, i.e. a computerized voice reading off playlists and other textually-based content.
Sources close to the story have mentioned the upcoming feature, which has yet to be confirmed by official Apple sources. The ability to control voice features via the iPhone headset has also been mentioned.
Voice control features could bring the iPhone up to speed with many other phones that come with voice-dialing, and will broaden the playing field with a voice search function like the Google app as well as be useful for turn-by-turn GPS navigation, eBook reading capabilities, and on-the-spot note-taking.

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TechRestore Announces MacBook Pro Glass Repair Service for US$349

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Date: Wednesday, April 22nd, 2009, 08:50
Category: MacBook Pro

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Service outfitter TechRestore announced Tuesday a new glass replacement program for Apple’s Unibody MacBook Pro. For those owners who have broken their glass, but not the LCD display itself, the company can replace the glass for US$349.
The repair includes the company’s usual 24-hour turnaround time frame as well as a 1-year warranty on the repair. Full details are available at TechRestore’s web site.
TechRestore is a PowerPage sponsor.

Mozilla Releases Firefox 3.0.9 Update

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Date: Wednesday, April 22nd, 2009, 08:02
Category: Software

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Early Wednesday, Mozilla.org released version 3.0.9 of its Firefox web browser.
The new browser, a 17.3 megabyte download, sports the following fixes and changes:

  • Fixed several security issues.
  • Fixed several stability issues.
  • Many users experienced an issue where a corrupt local database caused Firefox to “lose” its stored cookies. (bug 470578)
  • Fixed an issue where, starting with Firefox 3.0.7, inline image attachments on popular webmail services (like AOL and AIM) would not display. (bug 482659)
  • Large forms would sometimes take a long time to submit. (bug 426991)
  • In certain cases, new windows would not have proper focus. (bug 446568)
  • The program requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later to install and run.

    Updates Rumored for Pro Apps and MacBooks at WWDC

    Posted by:
    Date: Tuesday, April 21st, 2009, 23:05
    Category: Rumor

    According to 9to5 Mac, Apple plans to introduce minor updates to the MacBook line as well as some significant updates to Final Cut Pro, Aperture, Logic, and Shake.

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    There has been some speculation in the last few months, fueled by rumors, that AT&T may be subsidizing MacBooks in much the same way as the iPhone due to built-in 3G connectivity. I am putting this rumor into the “unlikely” column, but 9to5 Mac’s sources suggest the laptop updates may be more than just speed-bumps. This could include changes to the battery, such as making it non-removable. I will want to be out of town if that announcement hits the floor to avoid the rioting.

    I for one don’t see Apple handing over any control of the sale of their computers, but stranger things have happened. There are almost 2 more months before WWDC kicks off, so plenty of time for more rumors to bounce around the internet. I think we all agree that a new iPhone (or 3) will be announced, but how about a netbook? Send us your thoughts in the forums!

    Adium beta Includes Twitter Connectivity

    Posted by:
    Date: Tuesday, April 21st, 2009, 22:06
    Category: Mac, Software
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    The Adium folks have been hard at work and one of the new features slated for version 1.4 is accessing Twitter accounts. That should come as no surprise considering the explosion of Twitter popularity and the development of software to access the service. As Zack West of the Adium blog put it:

    “For well over a year now, Twitter has been an often-requested addition to our repertoire of services. As a user of the service I absolutely understand. The current base of Twitter clients often leave something to be desired, behave in a weird way, or just add an additional application you need to keep open.”

    You will be able to open your Twitter timeline in a separate “group chat” window and people you are following will be displayed in a contact list. According to the blog, nearly all the usual features will also be there, such as looking up someone’s info, following and unfollowing, and adding images to Twitpic.

    For more information, follow the blog, or download the nightly beta and try it out for yourself. I’m sure they’d love some feedback.

    Now if they could just get video working, I could dump iChat!

    The $200 Mac Netbook – By Dell

    Posted by:
    Date: Tuesday, April 21st, 2009, 10:58
    Category: Hacks, netbook

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    For users hankering for a Mac netbook at long last, Dell might have something right up your alley. According to the Apple Core, Dell’s Vostro A90 netbook, which retails for US$199 (less than the price of an iPod touch) can be turned into a computer running desktop-class Mac OS applications as well as a Flash-equipped web browser.
    The unit is Dell’s business equivalent of the Mini 9 and uses the same components as the Mini 9 with the only difference being its all-black enclosure, as opposed to the Mini 9′s black and silver styling, and, according to forum posts, a little more metal inside making it more rigid than the Mini 9.
    Users will still have to purchase Mac OS X and there are compromises that come with any netbook (1.6 GHz Atom processor, small keyboard, screen and HDD) but the machine can still offer the most bang for the buck of any Apple machine bar none, even if it won’t blow away the MacBook Pro on performance.

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    AT&T Confirms Efforts to Double 3G Network Speeds

    Posted by:
    Date: Tuesday, April 21st, 2009, 07:01
    Category: iPhone

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    In an interview with TelephonyOnline, AT&T vice president of technology realization Scott McElroy has confirmed that the carrier is currently performing a variety of upgrades on its 3G network that should combine to double capacity in the coming months.
    McElroy stated that his team plans to upgrade “the downlink capacity on its high-speed packet access (HSPA) from 3.6 megabits per second to 7.2 Mb/s through software upgrades at the base station.”
    Though McElroy didn’t provide a timetable for the upgrade, he said that AT&T is in the process of field certifying the faster network in two test markets, adding that AT&T plans to eventually migrate its 3G networks to evolved-HSPA (or HSPA+), which would increase top speeds threefold.
    AT&T could then theoretically upgrade its HSPA network to 14.4 Mb/s but is expected to forgo that option due to a technical problem and its ability to migrate directly to 21 Mb/s HSPA+, McElroy said. He told TelephonyOnline that AT&T will focus “on upgrades to the baseband, which will dramatically increase capacity without having to fiddle with the elements on the tower or in the core.”
    McElroy also noted that AT&T is simultaneously upgrading its network backbone to handle the increased data traffic resulting from its network upgrades. He refused to reveal the exact extent of those upgrades.
    Sources close to the story say Apple has set a strict deadline that asks AT&T to complete the upgrade, quality test it, and have it ready to go live no later than May 31st. The third-generation iPhone is expected to be unveiled a few weeks later.
    Meanwhile, McElroy says AT&T is also looking further ahead, selecting vendors for its 4G (or long-term evolution (LTE)) network expected to go live in test markets by 2010 ahead of widespread commercial availability the following year.
    The carrier will reportedly use both its 700 MHz and advanced wireless services (AWS) spectrum to facilitate the LTE launch, with other spectrums on reserve should 4G usage take off. It could also repurpose its 2G and 3G channels for LTE once users begin migrating off those channels to the 4th-gen network.

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    Samsung Offers “Rugged” 500 GB Notebook Hard Drive with SpinPoint M7

    Posted by:
    Date: Tuesday, April 21st, 2009, 07:36
    Category: hard drive

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    Amidst a slew of new notebook hard drives that have emerged on the market recently, Samsung’s SpinPoint M7 is the first to call itself “rugged” according to the cool cats over at Engadget.
    The dual-platter, 2.5-inch SATA drive spins at 5400rpm and features a 400G operational shock tolerance (about 50G better than the claimed tolerances of other 500GB drives and 75G better than Sammy’s own Spinpoint M6).
    The SpinPoint M7 is expected to ship next month, although a final price for the unit has yet to be announced.

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    DivX for Mac 7.0 Out the Door

    Posted by:
    Date: Tuesday, April 21st, 2009, 07:19
    Category: Software

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    DivX for Mac, the shareware player that allows users to view high definition H.264 (.mkv) videos with AAC audio and video, hit version 7.0 yesterday. The new version, a 23.2 megabyte download (courtesy of VersionTracker), allows for expanded playback of the .divx and the .avi formats on the Mac.
    The player requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later to install and run.

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    Apple Begins Taking Bids on Mac Netbook Components

    Posted by:
    Date: Monday, April 20th, 2009, 11:27
    Category: News

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    Long-time Apple manufacturing and component provider Foxconn is reportedly among a group of frontrunners expected to receive a contract to create a Mac netbook.
    According to DigiTimes, sources lose to the story have cited that Foxconn “is in the running to land orders for a netbook from Apple.”
    Outside of adding that Mac maker’s 13-inch MacBooks will become Foxconn’s major growth contributor during the second quarter, no further details were included in the report.
    DigiTimes began a new wave of speculation earlier this year when it reported that Taiwan-based Wintek would start shipping touch panels to Apple sometime during the third quarter of the year for the launch of an unknown netbook product.
    A pair of sources speaking to Dow Jones quickly backed the report, with one saying the panels were sized “between 9.7-inches and 10-inches” while the other said specifications for the project were still “under evaluation.”

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