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Dec 09
Comic Life 2.0 for Mac OS X adds full template support

Plasq has introduced Comic Life 2 (, the latest version of the photo comic creation software for Mac OS X. Version 2 introduces full template support, which means users get a head start on their projects; advanced balloon control and text flow for precision layout; predefined and freeform shapes for more creative expression, integrated Facebook uploader for sharing with the world and an enhanced user interface.

The full template support allows you to get your project jump started with full page layouts including panels, titles and captions along with complementary styles for a professional look, says plasq CEO Robert Grant. You can also create your own templates with all your favorite font and style choices.

You can use the new Facebook exporter to upload and share your comics with your friends and family. Comic Life 2 automatically creates an album to contain the...

| Read more »
Dec 09
Best Buy offers 'free' iPhone on Friday

On Friday, Dec. 10, you can get a free iPhone 3GS at Best Buy. Well, it's "free" when you sign up for a two-year plan with AT&T.

Also, note that Best Buy is offering the iPhone 3GS, not the latest iPhone. That would be, of course, the iPhone 4.

| Read more »
Dec 09
Apple extends iTunes song samples to 90 seconds

Apple has begun extending the length of song samples from 30 seconds to 90 seconds at the iTunes Store in the U.S. Many samples of the site's top-selling singles -- such as The Black Eyed Peas' "The Time (Dirty Bit)" and Coldplay's "Christmas Lights," -- are available in the longer format, reports "CNET" (

The length of song samples has been found to be key to a consumer's decision to purchase music online, the article adds. Researchers at Robert Morris University reported last year that consumers were more likely to buy songs if allowed to sample the music for about 60 seconds and if provided access to a "high-quality" version of the music.

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Dec 09
Apple iPhone gaming head departs -- to make iOS games

Graeme Devine, who joined Apple's iPhone Game Technologies division last year, tells the "Kotaku" site ( that his last day at the company was Friday. He says he left the company to return to game development, concentrating specifically on the iPhone and iPad.

"My job there was basically to make gaming on the iOS devices fantastic," Devine said. "Basically that meant looking at the technologies involved and making sure the software played well with the hardware, to look at upcoming hardware/API and say 'Yup, that is a good thing'."

Devine told "Kotaku" that he can't comment on whether his position will be filled. But he says Apple gamers shouldn't worry.

"Apple has the smartest and most talented group of people I have ever worked with," he told "Kotaku." "Every day I...

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Dec 09
iPads, smartphones, laptops higher on consumer Christmas wish...

Despite a massive media frenzy for tablets such as the iPad, the latest research from has shown old favorites such as smartphones and laptops are still just as high on consumer Christmas wish lists in 2010.

In its latest survey, the website asked visitors, 'What is top of your Christmas list?' Surprisingly, laptops edged ahead of tablets by just 1%, with smartphones just 1% behind the latest gadget to capture the public's imagination. The result follows a recent Broadband Genie poll that found around 80% of UK consumers were not prepared to pay pounds Sterling 400 or more for an iPad.

"This Christmas, many are continuing to fall back on gadgets they trust and understand, such as traditional laptops and smartphones," says Broadband Genie editor Chris Marling. "For a lot of consumers, it is difficult to see what practical purpose a tablet currently provides beyond what other devices can already do extremely well. However, it is also clear the tablet...

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Dec 09
iPod among top 10 brands for 8-24 year-olds

Global market research firm, Harris Interactive ( has released the 2010 results of the first annual Youth EquiTrend study, which asks 8-24 year olds to rate between 98 and 125 brands on several key elements of brand equity including familiarity, quality and purchase consideration. Apple's iPod ranked number five overall.

The top 10 brands, based on equity, are M&Ms, Google, Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, Oreo's, iPod, Target, Subway, Hersey's Milk Chocolate, Doritos and Pixar.

"Today's youth are not just tomorrow's consumers; they are already consumers in their own right with their own money to spend," says Regina A. Corso, SVP, Youth and Education Research at Harris Interactive. "What companies need to remember is that if brand loyalty is built in these early years, that brand loyalty will remain for years to come. At this stage, the brands that...

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Dec 09
Decimus releases Synk 7 featuring Live Sync

Decimus Software has rolled out Synk 7, an update of its file synchronization and backup software for the Mac.

Building on the success of the ZeroScan feature introduced in Synk 6, Synk 7 has been rebuilt from the ground up around synchronizing live as files change. This makes it faster, safer, and more convenient than ever before to keep your files in sync and backed up, says Benjamin Rister, Decimus's president.

"Live synchronization means that syncs and backups will always be up-to-date," he adds. "You'll always be ready to pick up the laptop and walk out the door on a moment's notice, and if your system fails you won't lose any more than seconds of work from your backup. What's more, live sync also improves the performance of syncs, and minimizes the window of vulnerability to sync conflicts (when a file is edited on both sides of a sync).

Beyond live synchronization, Synk 7 still includes many features from previous versions of Synk, such as rules,...

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Dec 09
Apple releases MacBook Air EFI Firmware Update 2.0

Apple has released MacBook Air EFI Firmware Update 2.0 ( for the MacBook Air. The 2.4.1 update is recommended for MacBookAir (11-inch and 13-inch, late 2010) models and requires Mac OS X 10.6.5.

According to Apple, this update resolves a rare issue where MacBook Air boots or wakes to a black screen or becomes unresponsive.  You can obtain it via the Software Updates component of Mac OS X's Systems Preferences app.

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Dec 09
SMEStorage supports Webdav for DropBox, Google Storage for iWork

SMEStorage ( says its CloudDav offering has been updated to support WebDav access to DropBox and Google Storage.

CloudDav adds a WebDav access layer to any cloud that SMEStorage supports though its Cloud Gateway, even if the underlying Storage Provider doesn't support WebDav. The service already supported over 10 other Clouds including Amazon S3, Google Docs, and Microsoft SkyDrive.

As well as iWork other iPhone/iPad WebDav-enabled applications can be used such as Readdle Docs, and Office2 HD. CloudDav is also designed for other mobile platforms such as the Nokia N8 Smartphone, which features a native WebDav client on the phone; this can be used with CloudDav to enable native access to many file clouds.

CloudDav is a onetime US$5 purchase for SMEStorage users. Users can register free for single file cloud support directly from the SMEStorage web site. Users who...

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Dec 09
Latexian is new LaTeX Editor for Mac OS X

Taco Software has released Latexian 1.0, a new LaTeX editor for Mac OS X. Latexian can be used with the LaTeX and XeTeX typesetters, and also includes support for working with BibTeX documents.

Latexian's signature feature is Live Preview, which allows you to see how your document typesets while you're editing it; the PDF preview updates automatically. Latexian features include Project files, Navigator, Code Folding, Error Tokens, Spell Checking and more.

Latexian costs US$24.95 per license, and can be downloaded from Taco Software's web site ( It requires Mac OS X 10.5 or later. A free, 30-day trial is availab

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Dec 09
PhotoLooks 1.5 supports Aperture, Lightroom, Photoshop CS5

Red Giant Software ( has released Magic Bullet PhotoLooks 1.5, an update of the software that adds support for Photoshop CS 5, Apple's Aperture and Adobe Lightroom.

This new support provides more options to create color treatments for your photographs. Other 1.5 features include new color management support, support for 16-bit TIFF files and multi-image support.

PhotoLooks lets you manipulate and experiment with color while preserving photographic detail. Sophisticated Look presets and customizable tools let you control lighting conditions and create stylized effects. You can use the software as a standalone application or as a plug-in for Photoshop, Lightroom or Aperture.

Version 1.5 is a free update for registered users of version 1.x. For new users the cost is US$199.

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Dec 09
Sonnet introduces SDHC Memory Card to SxS Adapter

Sonnet Technologies has introduced its SDHC Adapter for SxS Camera Slot, designed expressly for use in Sony XDCAM camcorders, which use SxS memory cards for recording.

This Sonnet adapter enables the use of Class 10 and faster SDHC memory cards in place of SxS memory cards, supporting the performance required for HD recording modes while, according to the folks at Sonnet, allowing users to save hundreds of dollars on the purchase of memory cards in equivalent capacities.

Sonnet's SDHC Adapter for SxS Camera Slot offers Sony XDCAM camcorder users an alternative to using SxS memory cards for recording. Available at the price of a single SxS card, the Sonnet adapter and several high-quality SDHC memory cards are designed to empower users to shoot longer without having to offload footage, reformat, and reuse the same SxS card. 

Sonnet's SDHC Adapter for SxS Camera Slot is the same size as an SxS memory card and, unlike standard memory card adapters, allows the...

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Dec 09
'YML' looks at the Mac App Store, awards and more

The new "Your Mac Life" episode looks at the upcoming Mac App Store, a variety of tech-related awards and more.

You can listen in this and every Wednesday evening from 5:30 to 8 pm (Pacific). Live video is on Your Mac Life! You can watch the show live at -- or you can listen in to the plain old audio feed at .

You can join one of the two Chat Rooms that run during the live show -- on the live video site or on the dedicated IRC Server at in the #yourmaclife Channel.

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Dec 08
Study: Android users are more 'data hungry' than...

A series of studies, undertaken by Arieso ( -- a provider of customer centric network management software solutions -- comparing subscriber demand for mobile data has shown that different users and different devices exhibit markedly different demands on mobile networks.

The findings of this analysis -- using Arieso’s edge location-aware and customer-centric network management solution, ariesoGEO -- uses the iPhone3G as a benchmark and shows that data call time on certain handsets can increase by as much as 250%. It also shows that the actual number of data “calls” can increase by more than 130%. In addition, uplink and downlink data volumes can increase by as much as 130% and 40% respectively.

“Smartphone subscriptions are rising and so too is subscriber appetite for mobile data," Arieso Chief Technical Officer Michael Flanagan says. "Since the launch of the iPhone3G, we’ve seen a...

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Dec 08
Absoft releases Pro Fortran Performance Pack

Absoft Corp. -- a developer of compilers and high performance computing tools for Mac OS, Windows and Linux -- has announced general availability of a new Performance Pack for Absoft Pro Fortran v11.1 customers on Mac OS X and Windows.

The performance pack is included with the new v11.1.1 service pack. Absoft says the performance pack is the result of improved tuning of algorithms used in the new Load Balancing (–05 ) optimizer.  In addition to the performance improvements, the service pack includes a variety of fixes.

The Service Pack can be downloaded at no charge by registered Absoft Pro Fortran v11.1 customers from: .

| Read more »
Dec 08
iPhone/iPod/iPad apps for Dec. 8

Here are the latest iPhone/iPod touch/iPod/iPad apps announced. You can find 'em at the Apple App Store (

Epson and Thinxtream Technologies has announced that the PrintJinni for Epson mobile printing app will be available for free through December (It's normally US$6.99) and offers native support for the iPad. rintJinni for Epson allows iPhone, iPod touch and iPad users (iOS 3. and 4.x) to print Microsoft Office, PDF, and JPEG attachments from MobileMe, Gmail, Microsoft Exchange, and AOL  e-mail accounts to any Epson wireless all-in-one, including WorkForce, Artisan and Epson Stylus NX models.

The first digital edition of "Salk International's Airport Transit Guide" is now available for the iPhone, iPod, and iPad. This, the 25th Edition, covering ground transportation at 460 airports worldwide, has been completely revised for 2011, and replaces the...

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Dec 08
Analyst: Mac sales to surge 16% in December quarter

Barclays Capital Analyst Ben Reitzes wrote in a note to investors -- as reported by "Forbes" ( -- that he expects Mac unit sales to surge 16% for the quarter ending in December, compared to the same period a year-ago.

Apple, meanwhile, seems to be preparing for the launch of the iPad 2 by the end of the first quarter of 2011. This could limit how much iPad inventory Apple wants to have on hand going into next year, says Reitzes.

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Dec 08
iPads, Beatles on iTunes among recommended gifts for those 50+

You might want to rethink that Christmas tie for Dad or that bottle of perfume for Mom. Just in time for the holidays, 50+ marketing specialist DMW Direct ( says consumers over the age of 50 are recasting our images of what growing older looks like. Consider putting an iPad in their stocking.

DMW Direct compiled a list of top holiday gifts for 50+ Moms and Dads:

° iPad. Unlike the stereotype of older consumers being averse to new things, Boomers are among the biggest buyers of new technology.

° Facebook 101. A Pew Internet and American Life study says almost half of adults 50–64 are now using social networking -- older adults are the fastest growing group signing on.

° E-reader. Forget about a book with oversize print. Sure, Dad may be having trouble with his eyesight -- but adults 50+ are 10 times more concerned about the environment than their parents were...

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Dec 08
Stem Innovation releases new Mac, iOS products

Stem Innovation ( has released the Tandem USB Digital Desktop Speakers for Macs and the TimeCommand audio alarm clock for the iPhone, iPod touch and ipad.

Tandem features proprietary Stem:Sonic iQ technology, a DSP-enhanced amplifier and performance tuned bass-reflex ports. The speaker system features a sleek enclosure, cloth grille and black acrylic top to perfectly complement any Mac, according to Gary Bart, founder of Stem Innovation. In addition to the USB digital pathway that delivers ideal audio throughput, additional audio sources may be connected using the auxiliary audio port on the back, he adds.

Tandem's speakers enable the main unit to be placed on either the left or right of a Mac notebook or desktop by taking advantage of a simple left/right swap switch. There's a headphone port on the main unit for personal listening.

Tandem is...

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Dec 08
Jobs is "CEO of the Decade'

Apple CEO Steve Jobs has been named CEO of the Decade in the MarketWatch 2010 CEO Awards ( "MarketWatch" calls him the "rock star of corporate America."

Here's what the publication has to say about Jobs: "Jobs’s tenure as the chief executive at Apple Inc. during the past 10 years is well-documented. After pulling his own company back from the brink of bankruptcy before the decade started, he almost single-handedly went on to save the recording industry with the iPod and iTunes.

"He revolutionized handheld devices and touch-screen technology with the iPhone. And he may well usher in a post-PC era of computing with his latest gadget, the iPad."

“The resurrection of Apple is just the most...

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Dec 08
Apple drops challenge against OPTi patent verdict

Apple dropped its challenge of an US$19 million patent verdict lost to OPTi Inc. a day before a court was to hear the appeal, reports "Bloomberg" (

OPTi, which reported $3.25 million in sales for the three months ended Sept. 30, jumped 15 percent in over-the-counter trading after the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Washington granted the companies’ joint motion to dismiss the appeal, the article adds. According to the case docket, the reason behind the request for dismissal wasn’t made public.

On Jan. 16, 2007, Opti announced that it had filed a complaint against Apple, in the Eastern District of Texas, for infringement of its U...

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Dec 08
Steve Jobs in IT Hall of Fame

Apple CEO Steve Jobs will among those honored as the "best the information technology (IT) industry has to offer" in a new IT Hall of Fame created by CompTIA (, a non-profit trade association for the IT industry.

“Some of the iconic figures of the American business scene have emerged from the IT industry and the intent of the IT Hall of Fame is to recognize these game-changers,” says Todd Thibodeaux, president and chief executive officer, CompTIA.

The IT Hall of Fame consists of two wings: the IT Channel Wing for individuals who have made outstanding contributions or provided outstanding service to the IT channel; and the IT Innovators Wing, recognizing individuals responsible for outstanding technology innovations. Jobs is in the latter.

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Dec 08
Chinese housewives caught smuggling iPads

Customs officials in Shenzhen, a southern Chinese city just across the border from Hong Kong, recently caught 14 housewives trying to carry 88 iPads and 340 mobile phones into China, in a bust worth 950,000 yuan, or roughly $143,000, the Guangzhou Daily reports -- and as noted by "The Wall Street Journal" (

One woman had 65 mobile phones strapped around her waist and over 20 more in a handbag, according to the newspaper. Apple already sells the Wi-Fi version of the iPad in China, but the 3G version isn’t available yet on the mainland. Buyers who want 3G-capable iPads must get the device from overseas -- fueling demand for mules to carry the tablets from Hong Kong to China, says the...

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Dec 08
Phone companies want Apple, others to help with bandwidth costs

European phone operators want Apple, Google and Facebook to pitch in and help pay for the billions of dollars of network investments needed for their bandwidth-hogging services, reports "Bloomberg Businessweek" (

As mobile and Web companies add videos, music and games, operators including France Telecom SA, Telecom Italia SpA and Vodafone Group Plc want a new deal that would require content providers like Apple and Google to pay fees linked to usage.

“Service providers are flooding networks with no incentive” to cut costs, France Telecom CEO Stephane Richard said last month. “It’s necessary to put in place a system of payments by service providers as a function of their...

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Dec 08
O'Reilly Media releases 'Best iPads Apps'

O'Reilly Media has released "Best iPad Apps" by Peter Meyers. The 240-page book costs US$21.99 for the print edition and $17.99 for the ebook version.

"Best iPad Apps" rounds up apps for getting work done, manipulating photos, making movies, creating comics, browsing the web, taking notes, outlining ideas, tracking your health, exploring the world and more.

Meyers writes about and designs digital books. Formerly an editor at O'Reilly Media, he co-founded one of the first multimedia textbook publishers (Digital Learning Interactive). He's covered the intersection of writing and technology for the "New York Times," "The Wall Street Journal," and "Wired" and blogs at .

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