Apple and HP May Ship LED-Backlit Laptops This Spring

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Date: Wednesday, January 3rd, 2007, 15:50
Category: News

Apple and rival Hewlett-Packard look to be planning to introduce LED-backlit displays on their laptop computer products according to a report on DigiTimes.
The LED-backlit systems would improve the image quality of the LCD screens used in the laptops and provide more even lighting as well as improve the overall color range on the screen. The idea of LED-backlit laptop displays has been approached with a certain degree of caution due to higher power requirements in the past, but could represent the companies focusing on media-centric strengths.
The article’s cited source refused to to discuss the exact models that would receive the new displays but mentioned that part manufacturers Cree and Nichia would be the main suppliers for the necessary components.
If you have any comments or feedback on this, please let us know.

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“Month of Bugs” Project Pins Down QuickTime and VLC Vulnerabilities

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Date: Wednesday, January 3rd, 2007, 08:08
Category: News

According to an article on Macworld News, two Mac users (“LMH” and Kevin Finisterre) have begun a self-described initiative called the Month of Apple Bugs to “improve Mac OS X” by locating security flaws in Apple’s operating system as well as third party applications.
The duo published their first finds recently. Known as “MOAB-01-01-2007″, the first document describes a vulnerability in QuickTime’s Real Time Streaming Protocol features:
“By supplying a specially crafted string (rtsp:// [random] + semicolon + [299 bytes padding + payload]), an attacker could overflow a stack-based buffer, using either HTML, Javascript or a QTL file as attack vector, leading to an exploitable remote arbitrary code execution condition,” said the programmers.
The reported bug presently affects QuickTime 7.1.3, which is the current version for both the Mac OS X and Windows operating systems. The team suggests that the user disable QuickTime’s rtsp:// URL handler or uninstall QuickTime in the short term in their write up of the bug.
The second published bug focuses on VLC, the popular open source media player program.
The bug, which is present in version 0.8.6 of the program for Mac OS X (both the PowerPC and Intel version are affected by this bug, according to the report), allows an M3U file to be created which can be either opened locally or via a web server, compromising the security of the machine.
The only workaround to date is to disable VLC’s udp:// URL handler uninstall VLC or update to a new version of the program once it becomes available.
Where identification is concerned, “LMH” is the handle for an as-yet unidentified person helping with the project while Kevin Finisterre is the founder of Digital Munition and has been credited with the creation of the InqTana worm, a proof of concept that exploited a Bluetooth vulnerability present on some Macs and raised a relevant security issue in February of 2006.
If you have any comments or feedback about this, let us know.

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One Laptop Per Child Project Aims to Begin Production in July

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Date: Wednesday, January 3rd, 2007, 08:00
Category: News

An article on Engadget describes how the One Laptop Per Child project, headed by Nicholas Negroponte and the MIT Media Lab in collaboration with other organizations and vendors with the goal of creating a laptop that can be used by third world nations and purchased by governments, hopes to begin producing several million units around July.
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The computers, also known as the 2B1 and the XO-1 (previously the “$100 laptop”) will be manufactured by Quanta computer, will be handed over to kids for testing next month. The units include bleeding edge technologies such as improvements in battery conservation, mobile ad hoc networking which can make the most of limited Internet connection resources in a classroom and Flash drives instead of hard drives to be durable and thrive in third world education environments.
The units will function off a Fedora Core Linux operating system and be commercially available after production for about $225, a change from an original plan of only selling the laptops through government agencies.
If you have any comments, feedback or ideas about this, let us know.

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Jobs Keynote Speech to Run Two Hours

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Date: Wednesday, January 3rd, 2007, 08:00
Category: News

A quick look at the events page for the upcoming Macworld Expo San Francisco show reveals something out of the ordinary; Apple CEO Steve Jobs’ keynote speech, which usually runs from 60 to 90 minutes, is slated to be two hours long this year.
Among the anticipated products expected for discussion, if not release, are an iPhone, iTV, the upcoming Mac OS X 10.5 “Leopard” operating system, a Core 2 Duo-based Mac Mini and perhaps an improved iPod.
A lot can be said in an additional 30 to 60 minutes and this should be interesting.
If you have any comments or feedback, let us know.

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Mac OS X Market Share Climbs to 5.67% in December

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Date: Tuesday, January 2nd, 2007, 14:15
Category: News

A recent market share report released by netapplications.com shows that the Mac OS X market share (with both the the PowerPC and Intel architectures factored in) reached 5.67% in December of 2006, up from 5.39% in December.
Apple’s operating system has now surpassed Windows 2000 for second place in market share positioning. Windows 2000 fell from 8.75% to 5% over the course of 2006 while Linux remain steady at 0.37% and Windows Vista installs pushed it from 0.11% to 0.16% of the total market share.
Windows XP held on to its number one slot, growing from 80% to 85.30% throughout 2006.
The full breakdown of the report is as follows:
Windows XP: 85.30%
Windows 2000: 5.00%
Mac OS: 4.15%
Windows 98: 1.77%
MacIntel: 1.52%
Windows ME: 0.89%
Windows NT: 0.68%
Linux: 0.37%
Windows Vista: 0.16%
Windows CE: 0.04%
Windows 95: 0.03%
Web TV: 0.02%
PSP: 0.02%
Hiptop: 0.02%
Series60: 0.01%

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Micromat Debuts TechTool Protogo

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Date: Tuesday, January 2nd, 2007, 09:55
Category: News

According to an article on MacNN, Micromat today announced the upcoming release of TechTool Protogo. The new product is an application that allows Mac users to turn a device such as an older iPod or flash drive into a bootable unit packed with several of Micromat’s utilities as well as third party utility programs.
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TechTool Protogo will ship on a DVD and will include TechTool Pro Classic (for systems running Mac OS 9 or below), TechTool Pro 4 for Mac OS X and DiskStudio and will support an array of hardware configurations. The program will begin shipping on January 9th at Macworld Expo and be available for $200 with a $135 street price (pre-orders retail for $148 on Micromat’s web site).
The application will require a Macintosh running Mac OS X 10.4 or later, 512 megabytes of RAM and a DVD-ROM drive.
If you have any comments or feedback about this, let us know.

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Autonet Mobile: Broadband Wireless Internet for Your Car

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Date: Tuesday, January 2nd, 2007, 08:56
Category: News

An article over at Engadget highlights Autonet Mobile, the first company that intends to be an Internet service provider for the devices within your car.
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The firm will be selling the Autonet wireless unit, a $399 wireless Internet router using what appears to be Verizon’s EV-DO wireless network. Specific details as to available plans and network backbones are scarce as of now, but Autonet Mobile claims that it will provide service on up to 95% of America’s roads when its $50 per month service has launched.
Definitely not a bad idea and in-car wireless access could help ease navigation as well as provide last minute information before arriving at a destination.
If you have any comments or feedback, let us know.

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Possible Buzzing/Whining Sound on Second Gen Nano?

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Date: Tuesday, January 2nd, 2007, 08:00
Category: News

An article over at Engadget is reporting that dozens of second generation iPod Nano owners are reporting a high-pitching buzzing/whining sound from their iPod Nano units in one of Apple’s discussion forums.
While most of the reports cite that the units are fully functional aside from this, others have claimed this was the first thing they noticed when they began using the music players. Owners of the 2, 4 and 8 gigabyte capacities have all noticed this problem, leading to speculation that a revised component between the generations of iPod Nanos, such as the backlight or battery, may be the cause of this.
Engadget’s own tests on one iPod Nano revealed that the sound was present, but essentially inaudible unless the headphone was practically lodged in one’s ear.
Apple has experienced similar problems and repaired whining problems with the MacBook, so perhaps a fix is in the works and the problem can be pinned down quickly.
If you’ve experienced this or anything similar to it via your own second generation iPod Nano, please let us know.

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Apple Restates Past Earnings, Clears Actions of Current Executive Team

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Date: Friday, December 29th, 2006, 11:22
Category: News

In a released financial statement on its web site, Apple Computer, following an independent investigation into the backdating of awarded stock options which began back in June, restated past earnings and cleared currently employed executives of corporate misconduct.
Following the independent investigation, Apple has stated that it will record a non-cash charge of $84 million to compensate for the improper handling of stock option awards granted to executives made between 1997 and 2002. The company has stated that after-tax profits would be lowered by $10 million for the 2004 fiscal year, $7 million for the 2005 fiscal year and $4 million for the 2006 fiscal year.
The investigation made no discovery of actions after December 31, 2002 that required accounting adjustments or restatements.
The company has also stated that a special committee within its board of directors found that while CEO Steve Jobs and other executives were aware of or recommended inaccurate stock option grant dates, they did not financially benefit from these actions. The firm has stated that it has “complete confidence” in its current executive team, despite the quiet departure of former Apple senior vice president Nancy Heinan and former chief financial officer Fred Anderson, both of whom resigned from the company this year.
“The special committee, its independent counsel and forensic accountants have performed an exhaustive investigation of Apple’s stock option granting practices,” commented Al Gore, chair of the special investigative committee, and Jerome York, chair of Apple’s Audit and Finance Committee, in a joint statement. “The board of directors is confident that the company has corrected the problems that led to the restatement, and it has complete confidence in Steve Jobs and the senior management team.”
If you have any comments or feedback on this issue, please let us know.

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Apple Files Patent for Notebook “Drive Guard”

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Date: Friday, December 29th, 2006, 08:47
Category: News

According to an article on MacNN, the United Stated Patent and Trademark Office published a patent on December 28th that had initially been filed in mid-2005 by Apple Computer. The patent relates to a device that can be included within portable notebook computers and establishes a guard system for their optical disk drives.
Within the patent background description, Apple states that a notebook computer faces a “host of insults” such as rough handling and transportation in the presence of other items that may be placed in a container along with the computer. These hazards can damage a computer, even when turned off and closed, especially when ports, air vents and other openings are exposed. Foreign objects such as paper clips, show tickets, business cards and bits of loose paper. can find their way into the laptop and damage internal components of the computer.
The device in question under the patent is meant as protective measure, especially for opposing-brush slot disk drives like those found in current PowerBooks, MacBooks and MacBook Pro units.
The guard slot described by the patent would be a device that would be positioned adjacent to the laptop’s optical drive slot and alternate between an open and closed position. The open position would provide free access while the closed position would protect the drive slot when the computer is not in use.
The patent lists John DiFonzo and Chris Lightenberg as being the inventors of this patent.
If you have any ideas, suggestions or comments regarding this, let us know.

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