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Handbrake Updated to 0.9.0

Posted by:
Date: Monday, August 20th, 2007, 08:22
Category: Software

Handbrake, Eric Petit’s open-source DVD ripping/conversion utility, has been updated to version 0.9.0.
The new version, a 4.5 to 5.6 megabyte download (depending on version), adds the following features and changes:
-User experience is improved through a re-envisioned Mac interface and a Windows interface that’s been rebuilt from the ground up.
-Picture quality is improved through better image scaling, better deinterlacing, new filters for denoising, deblocking, inverse telecine, and new presets devoted to high quality settings.
-Speed improvements due to updated copies of x264 and ffmpeg. This includes improved multi-threaded encoding for the iPod.
-Compatibility is improved through new presets for devices like the iPhone and PSP. As well, HandBrake now supports DTS as an audio source and has limited support for .VOB and .TS file containers as input. Most excitingly, HandBrake can now output to the Matroska (MKV) file container.
-Stability has been improved due to countless bug fixes (including audio drop and mp2 issues). Handbrake also has optional support for MP4 files larger than 4 gigabytes.
Handbrake 0.9.0 requires Mac OS X 10.3 or later to run and is available for free.
If you’ve tried the new version and have either positive or negative feedback, let us know via the comments or forums.


Roxio Announces Popcorn 3

Posted by:
Date: Friday, August 17th, 2007, 13:50
Category: Software

Earlier today, software company Roxio announced the it would be releasing Popcorn 3, its video conversion and disc burning software for the Mac at the end of the month.
According to Macworld News, the new version will provide a simplified interface, TiVoToGo burn support that will allow some TiVo-branded digital video recorders to transfer saved shows to their Mac via a user-selected format.
Other upcoming features are as follows:
-A new Media browser will allow the user to find and preview video files.
-A program known as Disc Cover RE will let users create and print labels and inserts for their DVDs.
-Users can now create bookmarks and preserve existing chapter markers in their files.
-Play and resume features have been added. This will allow Popcorn to pause a process in the middle of a conversion and help your Mac with other processor functions.
-Support for the Elgato Sytems Turbo.264 coprocessor, which can help speed up video conversions.
-A Quality Preview feature will let users see 15 seconds of video to gauge whether the quality and format they’ve selected are appropriate.
-Batch DVD and video playback conversion features have been added.
-New presets have been added for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, iPod, iPhone, Apple TV and BlackBerry.
-Support has been added for Dolby Pro Logic II and users can now create four-hour DVDs on a single 4.7 gigabyte DVD.
Roxio has stated that users of Toast 7 and 8 and Popcorn 1 and 2 will be able to directly unlock the upgrade version of Popcorn 3, which will be sold through the company’s web site for US$29.99.
Popcorn 3 will require a Mac running Mac OS X 10.4.10 or later, a G4, G5 or Intel-based processor, QuickTime 7.1.6 or later, 300 megabytes of hard drive space and up to 15 gigabytes of temporary free disk space available to convert videos.
If you have any ideas or feedback on this, let us know in the comments or forums.


Steps for Dealing with a Cracked iPhone Screen

Posted by:
Date: Friday, August 17th, 2007, 09:49
Category: iPhone

You have your iPhone. And odds are, you’re pretty fond of it. Still, which the iPhone’s screen can take an admirable amount of abuse, it’s not invincible.
The guys over at iPhone Atlas have put together a quick guide outlining the best procedures for dealing with a cracked iPhone screen should the occasion arise:
-First, a repair/replacement from Apple can run between US$200 and US$250. The iPhone is covered under a standard limited one-year warranty for defects, but is not eligible for AT&T’s wireless phone insurance, which retails for US$5 a month and provides replacements in the case of loss, theft, accidental physical or liquid damage and mechanical and electrical failures after the manufacturer’s warranty period has termed.
-An Apple FAQ list has stated that the company will repair your 4 GB iPhone for US$199 or your 8 GB iPhone for US$249 plus US$6.95 in shipping and handling should your iPhone require service for any reason outside of battery replacement (an US$86 service).
While it can be presumed that this service covers screen cracks, Apple’s FAQ states that ‚Äúservice may not be available if your iPhone has been damaged due to accident or abuse.‚Äù
-Reports have come in to the iPhone Atlas web site that Apple representatives at the Genius Bar have replaced cracked screens for free. This is a nice gesture, but don’t count on it and it seems only likely to occur if the user can prove that the screen was damaged during routine use.
-A variety of do-it-yourself kits have become available and range from US$150 to US$200. Other third party firms have begun to sell replacement iPhone components such as the screen and its associated parts. Installation isn’t for the timid of heart and will violate any remaining Apple warranty.
-Credit card protection is also available. American Express offers a Gold Rewards Card, which includes a purchase protection plan that will repair or replace certain items or reimburse the policy member for the amount charged to the card at up to US$1,0000 per occurrence. The policy will also activate if the item is stolen or accidentally damaged up to 90 days from the date of purchase.
Had any experience with this on your end or have a story to offer? Let us know in the comments or forums.


Apple Releases iWeb 2.0.1 Update

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Date: Friday, August 17th, 2007, 08:07
Category: Software

Late Thursday, Apple released version 2.0.1 of its iWeb application, the WYSIWYG web content creation tool included with iLife 2008.
The update, which is about an 11 megabyte download, repairs an issue with upgrading and publishing iWeb 1.x web sites and is currently available through Mac OS X’s Software Update feature. iWeb 2.0.1 requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later to run.
Like any update, if you’ve tried the new version and have any kind of feedback regarding it, let us know in the comments or forums.


Software Glitch Shuts Down Part of Skype Network

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, August 16th, 2007, 11:37
Category: Software

A blog entry over at VoIP software maker Skype‘s company blog has revealed that a bug is currently affecting the firm’s network (specifically, logging in) and appears to be affecting its European user base, according to Macworld News.
The company, which has temporarily disabled downloads of its software, has stated that it expects to have the problem resolved within 12 to 24 hours. Users are advised to leave their Skype client running so they can be logged back in once the bug has been dealt with.
American users do not seem to be experiencing the problem and company officials were unavailable for comment.
If you’ve seen this problem on your end or have an idea or a workaround, let us know in the comments or forums.


Opera 9.23 Released

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, August 16th, 2007, 11:17
Category: Software

On Wednesday, Opera Software released version 9.23 of its web browser.
The new version, an 11.3 megabyte download, fixed four crash bugs located using Mozilla’s jsfunfuzz tool and repairs a stability issue with the Speed Dial feature.
Opera 9.23 requires Mac OS X 10.2 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’ve tried the new version and have feedback about it, let us know in the comments or forums.


Wi-Fire Antenna Offers Wireless Ranges Up to 1,000 Feet

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, August 16th, 2007, 09:56
Category: Software

Wi-Fi’s never lacked for strength and unless you went by “Hef”, consistently wore a smoking jacket and were concerned about the state of the Grotto for your next party, you probably never pushed the range limits of your wireless system within your home.
The Wi-Fire, a recently released USB wireless antenna by hField Technologies, may be able to offer a considerably longer range than a conventional internal AirPort card.
According to Macworld News, the Wi-Fire which functions as a directional high-gain antenna with 802.11 b and g support, can function up to 1,000 feet away from a base station.
The card, which measures 3″ x 4″ x 3/8″, folds up when not in use and can be perched near a laptop when needed.
The Wi-Fire is immediately available and retails for US$79.
If you have any thoughts on this or have tried similar wireless antennas, let us know in the comments of forums.


Virtual PC 7.0.3 Update Released

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Date: Thursday, August 16th, 2007, 08:06
Category: Software

On Wednesday, Mirosoft released version 7.0.3 of its Virtual PC emulation software for the Mac that allows users to run Windows and x86-based operating systems on older PowerPC-based hardware.
The update, a 16.7 megabyte download, repairs a vulnerability in which an outside party can overwrite contents of your computer’s memory with malicious code.
Virtual PC retails for US$129 and requires Mac OS X 10.2.8 or later to run.
If you’ve tried the new version or have thoughts about Virtual PC in general, let us know in the comments or forums.


Skype 2.7 Public Beta Released

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, August 15th, 2007, 13:17
Category: Software

On Wednesday, Skype released a public beta of version 2.7 of its self-titled Voice over Internet Protocol software.
The new version, a 31.8 megabyte download, adds the following features and changes:
-Now you can organise your contacts into as many groups as you need. While there are some pre-defined groups (like Online, Recently Contacted, Address Book Contacts), you‚Äôre free to add new ones that suit your life. This is very useful to those who are very popular and have a contact list with hundreds of people. Explore this feature under the cogwheel icon on the main screen and selecting “Show Contact Groups”.
-See your Apple Address Book contacts in Skype Рeasily call or SMS anyone who has a phone number in their address-book profile. When sending a SMS, just make sure the number you’re sending to can receive SMS.
-Create and manage public chats by clicking on Chats in the menu bar and choosing Start Public Chat. A public-chat assistant will walk you through the necessary steps.
-Auto Redial for busy or unconnected calls. When your call hits the busy signal, Skype will give you the option of automatic redial every two minutes until the call goes through. This setting can also be adjusted in Skype > Preferences > Calls.
-Easy sound controls – when you need to tweak the sound level during a call, use a simple slider in the call window, or change your device by clicking this icon.
-Overhauled file transfer – wearing a more fashionable jacket, file-transfer now looks elegant and acts even nicer, especially when receiving many files at once.
Skype 2.7 requires Mac OS X 10.3.9 or later to run and is coded as a Universal Binary which can run at native speeds on both PowerPC and Intel-based hardware.
If you’ve tried the new version and have any kind of feedback, let us know in the comments or forums.


Apple to Expand iPhone Sales to Authorized Business Partner Channel

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, August 15th, 2007, 08:14
Category: iPhone

Since its introduction, it hasn’t been a challenge to get your mitts on an iPhone. Still, additional purchasing options never hurt.
According to The iPod Observer, Apple is now allowing the iPhone to be sold through consultants and other value added providers currently participating in the Apple Authorized Business Agent Program.
The change, which might be seen as a ramping up in production for the iPhone, could also be an effort to test the waters before instituting a wider-scale iPhone sales program. Should such an effort prove successful, iPhone sales could then expand into additional channels such as online and catalog-based authorized resellers.
To date, Apple has sold approximately 270,000 iPhones and expects to sell one million units by the end of its September quarter.
If you have any thoughts or feedback on additional iPhone retail outlets, let us know in the comments or forums.