VLC 0.8.6 Released, Becomes Universal Binary

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Date: Wednesday, December 13th, 2006, 10:32
Category: Software

Video Lan Client (VLC), the popular free “catch-all” media player for Mac OS X, Windows and Linux (where QuickTime falls short or isn’t licensed to play a format, this has become the easy substitute), has been updated to version 0.8.6 according to an article on arstechnica.
VLC 0.8.6, which is about an 11 to 22.7 megabyte download, is now a Universal Binary program capable of running natively on both Apple’s PowerPC and Intel hardware architectures and includes support for the Apple Remote, Windows Media Video 9 files, VC-1, VP5/VP6, Flash video, TTA, WavPack lossless audio and Shoutcast TV files. H.264 support has also been rewritten for this version.
VLC is an open-source project. For information as to how to beta test or contribute code to the effort, click here.

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New Software Snags Pictures of Would-Be Laptop Intruders

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Date: Wednesday, December 13th, 2006, 07:34
Category: Software

The Unofficial Apple Weblog and MacOSXHints have done their homework today to bring up a few nifty tools for laptop security using what’s already there to catch would-be intruders incorrectly entering passwords to try to gain access to your computer; your Intel-based MacBook or MacBook Pro’s built-in iSight camera.
Authsight by Jonathan Zdziarski, uses a monitoring daemon program which turns on the iSight camera after an invalid password has been entered and begins to take pictures of the intruder. The program is script-based and requires the iSightCapture command line tool to function.
Several commercial security solutions are available via the TUAW link and the article makes a good overall point; this is the time of year when the most laptops are stolen and a few additional precautions aren’t a bad idea. Short of renting a mastiff and its shotgun-wielding owner to guard your hardware this year, a few cool freeware, shareware and commercial applications could provide the peace of mind you’re looking for this holiday season.

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MacBook “Thin” Rumors/Specs Surface

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Date: Wednesday, December 13th, 2006, 07:58
Category: Rumor

Macosrumors.com has recently published an article to add to the fevered pre-Macworld rumor mill this time of year.
The article, which cites sources strong but anonymous sources in both Cupertino and southeast Asia, discusses a “MacBook Thin” portable model which may be en route for the new year.
Since the introduction of Apple’s Intel-based hardware and laptops, an ultra-thin 12″ laptop has been in demand, especially given the fact that the consumer-level MacBook features a 13″ monitor – something which had never been done in previous generations of entry-level/consumer models for Apple laptops.
According to the article, the key goals of the “Thin” project were to scale down the features of the MacBook Pro without compromising them for the smaller size of the unit. The new “MacBook Thin” is expected to be a variant of the MacBook Pro family yet contain many of the pro-grade ports such as Firewire 800, ExpressCard expansion slot and a higher-end ATI graphics card.
To date, the final shipping name of the “MacBook Thin” is unconfirmed, but the purported specs are as follows:
-12-inch widescreen display, 1280×800 resolution.
-2.16 or 2.33GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processors
-1GB of DDR2-667 memory standard. Max. capacity 3GB.
-Standard “Pro” ports: USB2, Firewire 400 & 800, Gigabit Ethernet, Digital/Analog Audio minijack I/O ports.
-ExpressCard expansion slot (believed to be /34 type)
-Similar storage to “Pro”: 2.5in SATA HDDs at 120GB & up, ‘Combo’ or ‘Super’ optical drive.
-ATI Radeon Mobility X1600 or nVIDIA GeForce GO 7600 graphics systems with 256MB of VRAM.
-Mini-DVI display connector with full second display capabilities
-Built-in iSight, stereo microphone, Airport Extreme and Bluetooth 2.0+EDR.
-Battery life is expected to be “best in class” at about 6.5 hours real-world, some reports have suggested up to 8 hours is possible.
As of now expectations for Macworld Expo run high and given that an iPhone and iTV products as well as a new preview version of Apple’s Mac OS X 10.5 “Leopard” operating system and several software updates are expected, the “MacBook Thin” will probably see a later release date.
Please let us know your comments, ideas and whether you’ve heard anything to this end.

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Fujitsu to Release 300 GB Laptop Hard Drive in 2007

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Date: Tuesday, December 12th, 2006, 11:32
Category: Uncategorized

According to an article on electronista and MacNN, storage component maker Fujitsu has announced today that it will be releasing a 2.5″ notebook hard drive with an unprecedented 300 gigabyte capacity.
The new MHX2300BT series of drive will use perpendicular magnetic recording (in which drive blocks are tilted at various angles to increase density and thus storage space). The drives will spin at 4,200 RPM, although the company claims the increased density will improve speed without increasing the 1.6 watts of power needed to power the units.


fujitsunotebookdrive.jpg

Fujitsu has claimed that the new drives will ship in the first quarter of 2007 and that a less expensive 250 gigabyte model will also be offered. No set price for the 300 gigabyte model has been released to date.

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Apple Legal Targets iBuzz, iPod “Spinoff” Adult Products

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Date: Tuesday, December 12th, 2006, 10:21
Category: News

According to a story on techdigest.com, Apple’s legal department has targeted iBuzz, a musical sex toy that vibrates to the rhythm of a given music file on your iPod.
While this may have gone over as a funny joke with most people, Apple took offense with the gadget and the all-too-similar-to-its-own-campaign imagery on the iBuzz web site.
Love Labs, the maker of the iBuzz device, received a threat from Apple’s legal team (Field Fisher Waterhouse) with regard to Love Labs’ use of silhouette-style images of a woman using the product in a similar style to Apple’s iPod ad campaigns.The firm has argued that the imagery is derived from freely available adult images manipulated in Adobe Photoshop. Though the styles are similar, Apple doesn’t have a copyright on the look and feel, according to Love Labs.
Since Apple’s action, Love Labs has removed the image and animation from its web site and replaced the content with descriptions of its upcoming iBuzz 2 product line.

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Apple/Disney/Google Collaboration Could Boost iPhone Sales

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Date: Tuesday, December 12th, 2006, 09:43
Category: Opinion

A recent article on MYiPhone.com speculates that Apple, which now holds a nice position with Disney per Steve Jobs’ recent addition to the company’s board, could see boosted iPhone sales as a result of recent buyouts this year.
Disney, which has filed patents for an upcoming streaming-video handset that looks like a flip phone, seems to be cooperating with Apple. In addition to this union, Google CEO Eric Schmidt, whose company recently bought out Internet video staple YouTube.com, joined Apple’s board of directors back in August of this year.
Where the iPhone is concerned, Apple would provide the device, Disney will provide some of the content (as it’s been doing to the delight of parents looking for family-friendly video downloads by way of the iTunes Store) and Google will provide mobile searching and video advertising for the device through its classic search engine strengths as well as its new YouTube assets. Moving beyond speculation of a combined phone and music device, the iPhone could become a full-fledged broadband mobile video device as a result of these combined efforts.
Not a bad thing and we’ll see what’s on the horizon come January at the Macworld Expo.

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“I Would Buy a Mac if I Didn’t Work for Microsoft” Claims Microsoft Development Manager

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Date: Tuesday, December 12th, 2006, 08:57
Category: News

According to an article on Computerworld.com, Microsoft veteran software development chief James Allchin commented in a January 2004 e-mail to Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer and company co-founder Bill Gates that the software firm had “lost sight” of customer needs and claimed that he would buy a Mac if he wasn’t working for Microsoft.
“In my view, we lost our way,” claimed James Allchin co-president of Microsoft’s platform and services division, wrote in an e-mail dated Jan. 7, 2004.
The e-mail was presented along with evidence last week in the Iowa antitrust trial, Comes v. Microsoft Corp where Microsoft is defending itself against allegations that the firm used its monopoly position to overcharge Iowa residents for its software. The case is one of the two holdover cases brought against Microsoft by the U.S. government and multiple states from the late 1990’s asserting that Microsoft abused its position in the market.
“I think our teams lost sight of what bug-free means, what resilience means, what full scenarios mean, what security means, what performance means, how important current applications are, and really understanding what the most important problems our customers face are. I see lots of random features and some great vision, but that does not translate into great products,” said Allchin in one of the cited e-mails.
Allchin, a veteran Windows development manager since the mid-1990’s, is still with the company but plans to retire at the end of this year after the upcoming Windows Vista operating system ships out the door. Elements of the legal transcripts and e-mails were obtained and posted by Groklaw.net, an open-source legal web site.
Like much of the evidence brought against Microsoft in past antitrust litigation, transcripts from the e-mail messages of Allchin and other executives have helped construct the case.
No immediate reply to Allchin’s comments were available from Waggener Edstrom Worldwide, Inc., Microsoft’s public relations firm.

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CoolBook Update Fixes Controller App Bugs

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Date: Monday, December 11th, 2006, 15:05
Category: Software

CoolBook author Magnus Lundholm has released an e-mail to registered users as well as download links to a new build of his shareware application.
The program, a 688 kilobyte download, allows users to monitor their MacBook and MacBook Pro laptops’ CPU frequency, voltage and temperatures with registered users being allowed to manually set their voltage and frequency. Corrected settings can significantly reduce heat dissipation throughout the laptop as well as overall fan noise and help extend the life of their batteries.
The update repairs a damaged build of the CoolBook Controller application that may result in problems activating the program or if an error occurs when clicking the “deactivate original driver” box doesn’t show a window requiring authorization.
CoolBook is available for a $10.00 shareware registration fee.

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Apple: Some Intel-Based Macs May Become Unresponsive After Extended Periods in Target Disk Mode

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Date: Monday, December 11th, 2006, 13:55
Category: News

A recent article on MacFixIt.com points to an Apple Knowledge Base document detailing how certain Intel-based Macs (namely the early 2006 iMacs and the MacBook Pro laptops) can become unresponsive if used as a host for FireWire target disk mode for more than 24 hours. Also worth noting is that the display and hard disk on the MacBook Pro might not go into sleep mode when Target Disk Mode has been activated for long periods of time, so be aware of this when checking if the system has become unresponsive.
Albeit a fix (either from a hardware or firmware update end) hasn’t been released, Apple suggests unmounting the host computer and restarting target disk mode sessions every 24 hours.
Please let us know if you have any comments, suggestions or ideas regarding this issue.

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MacBook/MacBook Pro Tilt Sensors Control Roomba

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Date: Monday, December 11th, 2006, 10:57
Category: Hacks

A cool link over at the mighty digg.com describes a project over at Tod E. Kurt’s HackingRoomba.com wherein a small Perl script can be used in conjunction with a Bluetooth adapter and the built-in tilt sensors found on the MacBook and MacBook Pro laptops.
The script takes a short time to load, then allows the user to control the Roomba’s movements by tilting it forward, backward, left and right to propel the Roomba in corresponding directions.
The script is in an early version but functional. For more information, instructions and a QuickTime demonstration video of the project, go to the project page for full details.

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