Microsoft Releases Latest Vista Update for iPods

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Date: Wednesday, May 9th, 2007, 07:19
Category: News

Microsoft‘s Windows Vista team has announced that it has published the “final” update for iPod compatibility with the Windows Vista operating system.
According to the Infinite Loop blog on Ars Technica, the update was developed in cooperation with Apple and addresses a concern wherein users have been in danger of corruption on the iPod when using Vista’s “Safely Remove Hardware” feature in the system tray.
The update has been released on a Microsoft support page for the time being and will become available via Windows Update on May 22nd.
Why this is the “final” update, we’re not sure, but they seem detemerined to lick this problem and maybe they finally have.
If you’ve tried the update and had either a positive or negative experience, let us know.


Apple Looks Into LED-backlit Components for 13″ MacBooks

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Date: Monday, May 7th, 2007, 09:11
Category: News

Following up on last week’s news that Apple is looking to feature LED backlighting technology in its products, a DigiTimes story has stated that component manfacturers AU Optronics, Chi Mei Optoelectronics, Coretronic and Kenmos Technology.
Sources stated that AU Optronics and Chi Mei Optoelectronics will send samples of their 13.3″ and 15.4″ panels to Apple in order to certify the parts for certification. Shipments will officially commence in the second or third quarter of this year. Backlight manufacturers Coretronic and Kenmos Technology are also slated to send samples of their products to Apple around this time frame.
Although the companies refused to comment at this time, sources have stated that AU Optronics and Chi Mei Optoelectronics will enter volume production for LED-based LCD modules in the second and third quarters while Coretronics’ LED-based backlight units will be applied to the panels made by AU Optronics and Chi Mei Optoelectronics.
No details have arisen as to when customers could begin to expect an LED-backlit system from Apple.


AT&T E-Mail Suggests Small Changes to iPhone

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Date: Monday, May 7th, 2007, 08:13
Category: News

An animated GIF file present in a recent AT&T newsletter e-mail has brought to light some minor changes that have been made to Apple’s upcoming iPhone since its introduction at the January Macworld Expo in San Francisco.
In the lower left hand corner, a double-arrow button is now present. This has been considered as a toggle for zoom functions, although its intended purpose has yet to be revealed.
A new icon in the lower right hand section of the screen is shaped like a car. Appl has discussed how it will provide traffic data and the Google Maps web site currently uses a car-shaped icon to pull up current traffic conditions for assorted U.S. cities.
Finally, the “Cingular” logo present on previously viewed versions of the iPhone have been replaced with an “AT&T” logo. Although Cingular and A&T are still functioning as two separate entities despite last year’s merger, the long-term plan is to operate solely as AT&T.
To see the animated GIF, click over to the MacNN article.


Magma Ships ExpressBox1 for MacBook Pro Laptops

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Date: Monday, May 7th, 2007, 08:08
Category: News

On Friday, Magma began shipping its ExpressBox1 product, an external PCI breakout box for laptops including the MacBook Pro.
The device boasts 2,000 Mbps data transfer rates and attaches to the MacBook Pro via an ExpressCard/34 connection and PCI Express cable. This allows the MacBook Pro to access higher-end video cards than the one that currently ships with it. Magma’s unit accommodates both 6.6″ half-length cards as well as 12.283″ full-length cards, the units selling for US$730 and US$750, respectively. According to MacNN, Magma has stated that the company will support “double-wide” GPU cards in a future generation of the ExpressBox1 to be released later this year.
If you’ve tried the ExpressBox or a similar device with your MacBook Pro, let us know.


Nove Media Ships GlobeSurfer ICON USB Modem

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Date: Friday, May 4th, 2007, 13:29
Category: News

On Friday, German technology firm Nova Media announced the GlobeSurfer ICON 7.2 Ready, a USB modem for Mac desktops and laptops.
The GlobeSurfer ICON 7.2 Ready boasts support for HSDPA and 3GUMTS data connections with speeds up to 7.2 Mbps as well as EDGE and GRPS support according to MacNN. The unit will also include launch2net, a collection of scripts that allow for easy creation of mobile Internet connections for a wide number of providers.
The modem requires Mac OS X 10.4.3 or later to run and will ship in late May for US$410.00.


Rhino Skin Announces New Laptop Cases

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Date: Friday, May 4th, 2007, 08:14
Category: News

On Thursday, Rhinoskin announced its new Universal Aluminum HardCase laptop carrying cases.
The case itself includes a series of mechanisms that restrain the laptop’s movement when the unit is opened or closed and according to MacNN, both hold the laptop in place as well as permit airflow to allow for ventilation. Users can choose between opening the HardCase’s cover and locking the screen in place or folding the case over to turn it into a laptop stand. The case also features retractable handles that can be used to carry the laptop and a shoulder strap with an accessory pack built in which can hold a power supply.
Pricing for the HardCase has yet to be announced and Rhino Skin has yet to update its web site with information pertaining to the product.
Further details to be posted as they become available.


iPod Access Photo 1.0 Released

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Date: Thursday, May 3rd, 2007, 16:57
Category: News

In the “Hey, that could be useful” category, Findley Designs has released iPod Access Photo a cross-platform shareware utility designed to recover photos from an iPod.
The program, a 5.4 megabyte download, allows users to select either individual photos or entire albums stored on the iPod, isolating the photo images by locating files tagged with “.ithmb” extensions according to Macworld News. iPod Access Photo then attempts to recover the highest resolution image available as well as the standard resolution image and then copy it to the computer in a format most image editing software can read.
iPod Access Photo retails for a US$12.99 shareware registration fee and requires Mac OS X 10.3.9 or higher and iPod software version 1.2 or later to run. The program is coded as a Universal Binary and runs at native speeds on both PowerPC and Intel-based hardware.
If you’ve tried this program and have either positive or negative feedback, let us know.


Danish National Consumer Agency Report Cites iBook G4 Flaw

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Date: Thursday, May 3rd, 2007, 13:29
Category: News

A recently released report by the Danish National Consumer Agency cites what it considers to be an unacknowledged error with the iBook G4 laptop. According to a story on, a specific design defect has been discovered on the iBook G4. The report claims that despite multiple user claims of the problem, Apple refused to acknowledge the fault and take back the laptops given that the complimentary year’s warranty had expired at that point.
The defect cited states that in just over one year’s use, users will find themselves in a position where the power turns off and the screen goes blank. Denmark’s Consumer Complaints Board, having decided that Danish consumers should be able to return laptops with this unit, were able to discover the following facts, as cited in the report:
-Certain users experiencing the problem sometimes resolved it by attaching a clamp to the left front side of their iBook G4 while others nudged cardboard shims in place to allow the laptop to reboot.
-In independent testing, a solder joint between components proved to be broken. This joint gradually loosens every time the computer is turned on and off.
-During testing, when the iBook G4 had been turned on and off a sufficient number of times, the solder joint had broken completely loose and resulted in a blank screen. Jury-rigged solutions such as pressing the components together with a clamp or inserting cardboard shims reconnected the contacts and allowed the computer to boot again.
Photos of the process can be found here, albeit commentary remains in Danish.
Delta, the independent electronics laboratory that performed the testing, cited visual analysis, stereo microscopy, scanning acoustic microscopy and x-ray microscopy as the means used during testing procedures. Individual suspect components were cut out of the logic board and further examined in order to look over the components via microscopy.
If you’ve seen this problem on your end or found a new workaround for the issue, let us know.


Jobs Confirms LED-backlit Displays to Emerge This Year

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Date: Thursday, May 3rd, 2007, 08:03
Category: News

In an open letter regarding the companies revised environmental policies and practices, Apple CEO Steve Jobs has confirmed that the company will begin incorporating LED-backlit displays in its products later this year.
The change comes on the heels of pressure for Apple to adopt more green-friendly policies, Jobs stating that the firm will use LED backlighting “for all displays when technically and economically feasible.”
“We plan to introduce our first Macs with LED backlight technology in 2007,” he wrote. “Our ability to completely eliminate fluorescent lamps in all of our displays depends on how fast the LCD industry can transition to LED backlighting for larger displays.”
According to AppleInsider, Apple began the larger conversion towards the LED backlighting when it was reported that the company was working towards implementing an LED-backlit system for its 15″ MacBook Pro laptop as opposed to cold cathode fluorescent backlights (CCFL).
LED technologies, which have been regarded as being more environmentally friendly than CCFLs, tend to be more efficient at evenly distributing light across the entire display surface, consume less power, offer improved color saturation, run cooler and last longer than CCFL-based units. This can translate into improved notebook battery life and allow the display to maintain its initial brightness levels for longer periods of time.
Additional details can be found at the Apple Core blog.


Roxio to Release “Crunch” Tool Next Week

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Date: Thursday, May 3rd, 2007, 07:53
Category: News

Roxio, makers of the Mac disc burning staple, Toast, has announced that it will be releasing a new video conversion program designed to convert files to the Apple TV, iPod and iPhone formats.
The software, which has been dubbed “Crunch” according to AppleInsider, will support both QuickTime and alternative file formats such as DivX, MPEG-2 and DVD-Video. Roxio has stated that the software will be available as an electronic download from its web site Monday for U.S. customers while retail boxed versions and European availability are expected to arrive not long after.
Like Toast, the user interface will focus on allowing files to be dragged and dropped in, then converted. The software will also support multiple MPEG-4 and H.264 settings and allow users to create their own settings. Additional features include the ability to convert unprotected DVDs and VIDEO_TS folders as well as a batch export feature which can take on large groups of files and convert them. Roxio has also stated that these files, once converted, can be automatically added to iTunes for simplified synching to devices such as an iPod, Apple TV, etc.
Crunch is expected to retail for US$50 and system specifics have yet to be released.
Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.