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Dec 06
'Consumer Reports' names AT&T as worst cell phone...

AT&T is now the worst-rated cell-phone service carrier according to a new survey of "Consumer Reports" readers. ANd U.S. Cellular, a regional carrier that provides service in 26 states, beat out the long-standing top provider Verizon Wireless with outstanding marks for value, voice service and customer support. 

The full article also features carrier ratings in 23 metropolitan markets and is in the January 2011 issue of "Consumer Reports" and at http://www.ConsumerReports.org . In this year’s version of an annual "Consumer Reports" survey on cell-phone carriers, more than 58,000 ConsumerReports.org subscribers weighed in about their service and customer support experiences with contract and no-contract providers. 

AT&T was the only carrier whose scores for overall satisfaction dropped significantly since last year. Verizon Wireless remains among the better performers, but...

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Dec 06
Portable Sound Labs debuts the pink iMainGo X

Portable Sound Laboratories (http://www.imaingo.com) has announced the US$69.99 iMainGo X Pink Version. It was designed to offer "high-end sound quality and amazing light weight portability to customers who use the iPhone, any Apple iPod, the Microsoft Zune, and most other MP3 players ."

It also custom fits and protects all iPods (except the shuffle), the iPhone and iPod touch. The iMainGo X can even be used as a premium external speaker system for any device with a 3.5 mm connection, such as the iPad, Kindle, laptop computers, electric guitar, etc. Its i daisy-chain feature also enables the user to connect more iMainGo X's for more sound.

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Dec 06
Forster + Partners hired to build 'City of Apple'

According to "El Economista" (http://translate.google.com/translate?js=n&prev=_t&hl=en&ie=UTF-8&layout...), a Spanish-language financial daily paper -- and as reported by "Fortune" (http://tech.fortune.cnn.com/2010/12/06/norman-...

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Dec 06
REALbasic styled text to HTML solution adds embedded image...

The PandaWare Company (http://www.pandaware.com) has announced an update to its PWStyleHTMLField.

In addition to giving REALbasic developers a solution for converting styled text into HTML, the version 1.0.6 update allows embedding images in HTML email messages, and offers built-in Undo functionality. There are also improvements for editing text in Windows and for displaying multi-byte text.

Developers can download a free compiled demo application that demonstrates the capabilities of PWStyleHTMLField. The application, available in both Macintosh and Windows versions, includes complete documentation for the PWStyleHTMLField and its associated classes. It's available at http://pandaware.com/RB/pwhtmlfield.html . Developers can also request a time-limited demo project for testing in their own...

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Dec 06
Google launches its own eBookstore

Google has announced that Google eBooks will be available in the U.S. from a new Google eBookstore (http://books.google.com/ebooks).

Google says the eBookstore will be compatible with a variety of devices are compatible with Google eBooks, including iOS devices. With the new Google eBooks Web Reader, you can buy, store and read Google eBooks in the cloud.

In addition to a full-featured web reader, free apps for Apple and Apple devices will make it possible to shop and read on the go. For many books you can select which font, font size, day/night reading mode and line spacing suits you -- and pick up on the page where you left off when switching devices.

Google says its eBookStore sports more than three million titles, including bestsellers like James Patterson’s "Cross Fire" and Jonathan Franzen’s "Freedom" to classics like "Great Expectations," "A Tale of Two Cities" and "...

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Dec 06
Unified Color Technologies releases HDR Express

Unified Color Technologies, which specializes in high dynamic range imaging (HDR), has released HDR Express, a tool specifically designed to meet the requirements of professional photographers and photo enthusiasts who are new to HDR software. On the Mac platform, it's compatible with Mac OS X 10.5.8 and higher.

With HDR Express, Unified Color has automated some of the most complex aspects of HDR photography and replaced the traditional HDR workflow with an alternative for creating the most realistic HDR renderings possible making this once-complicated process accessible to even the most novice user, according to Unified Color Technologies CEO Alfred Zee. The software automates key aspects of the HDR production process, such as tone mapping and halo elimination.

After merging the multiple exposures required for the HDR process into a 32-bit image, the user interface presents an animated exposure range preview of the HDR image along with five tone mapping preset...

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Dec 06
FaCILISI introduces Holiday Season Pages templates for Mac OS X...

FaCILISI (http://www.facilisi.com/) has introduced Holiday Season iWork Pages Templates for the iWork app for both Mac OS X and iPad. The professionally designed, editable templates enable the creation of holiday brochures, newsletters and postcards for the Pages users.

There are over 100 templates from which to choose. Pages users only need to add their own text and pictures to create documents for the holiday season. All templates are editable; users can change fonts, colors, sizes, etc. Graphics that were created with Pages are also editable. The Holidays Templates will be available during the holiday season only.

iWork Pages Templates are compatible with Pages '08 and '09. iPad Pages Templates are compatible with Pages iPad. The templates are available individually for US$0.99.

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Dec 06
WeatherSnoop 2.0 for Mac OS X adds graphing capabilities

Tee-Boy has announced WeatherSnoop 2.0 (http://www.weathersnoop.com) for Mac OS X 10.5.8 and higher. Designed to procure, analyze and publish weather data, the app interfaces with a variety of personal and professional weather stations as well as Internet-based data sources.

Version 2.0 features graphing capabilities for analysis and trending of weather values, and adds support for the Peet Brothers ULTIMETER 100/800/2000/2100 weather station and the RainWise MKIIICC-LR computer interface. You can select the value and the range to view your data with just a click of the mouse. Also featured in WeatherSnoop 2.0 is support for two professional weather stations: the Peet Bros. ULTIMETER 100/800/2000/2100 and the RainWise MKIIICC-LR computer interface.

WeatherSnoop is available for US$59.99 (USD), with a Lite version available for $19.99. A demo is available for download.

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Dec 06
Mac App Store to launch in one week?

Appletell (http://www.appletell.com/apple/comment/appletell-exclusive-mac-app-store...), quoting an "insider source," says Apple is targeting a Monday, Dec. 13, launch of the Mac App Store.

Craig Federighi, vice president of engineering for OS X, demoed Lion at the Back to the Mac event in October. The Mac App Store brings the Apple App Store experience to Mac OS X, making discovering, installing and updating Mac apps easier than ever, he said. Like on the iPad, you purchase apps using your iTunes account and they download and install in just one step. The Mac App Store will be available for Mac OS X 10.6, and will be built into next year's Mac OS X Lion.

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Dec 06
Analyst: Verizon, Apple strike iPhone deal

It's been a few days, so it's time for another iPhone-at-Verizon rumor. According to a report to clients from Kaufman Brothers analyst Shaw Wu -- as reported by "Fortune" (http://tech.fortune.cnn.com/2010/12/06/Report-apple-has-cut-a-sweet-deal...), Apple got the terms it wanted from Verizon for the version of the iPhone expected to be released by the carrier in early 2011.

Citing industry and supply channel checks, Wu writes that he is "picking up that iPhone economics to Apple are likely to be favorable, similar to that offered by AT&T."

"This is important, as many, including ourselves, have been concerned that VZ iPhone economics could be less favorable given the strength of Android and higher cost of components, particularly those...

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Dec 06
Native Instruments introduces Abbey Road Modern Drums

Native Instruments (http://www.native-instruments.com) has introduced Abbey Road Modern Drums, a new instrument developed together with the British recording studios. Providing two high-end drum kits for use in the free Kontakt Player and the Kontakt 4 sampler, Abbey Road Modern Drums gives musicians and producers access to drum sounds for contemporary music production of any genre.

Abbey Road Modern Drums complements the previous 60s, 70s and 80s installments, and is based on two drum kits that are a staple of modern studio productions -- a Drum Workshop Collector’s Series "White Kit" and a Pearl Reference "Sparkle Kit." It's further expanded with various cymbals from Sabian and Zildjian, as well as three snare drum options each.

Abbey Road Modern Drums touts up to 27 velocity layers per instrument with over 40,000 overall samples. The user interface offers control over all...

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Dec 06
Mac App Store to launch in one week?

Appletell (http://www.appletell.com/apple/comment/appletell-exclusive-mac-app-store...), quoting an "insider source," says Apple is targeting a Monday, Dec. 13, launch of the Mac App Store.

Craig Federighi, vice president of engineering for OS X, demoed Lion at the Back to the Mac event in October. The Mac App Store brings the Apple App Store experience to Mac OS X, making discovering, installing and updating Mac apps easier than ever, he said. Like on the iPad, you purchase apps using your iTunes account and they download and install in just one step. The Mac App Store will be available for Mac OS X 10.6, and will be built into next year's Mac OS X Lion.

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Dec 06
Strategy Analytics: iPad faces pricing challenge

Two-thirds of potential iPad buyers expect to pay less than US$500 or 500 Euros, according to a survey of 4,800 US and European consumers conducted by Strategy Analytics’ (http://www.strategyanalytics.com) "Tablet and Touchscreen Strategies" service.

With iPad retail pricing starting at $499 in the US, price is likely to present Apple with its first major hurdle as it seeks to sustain the iPad’s early success, according to the research group. The report concludes that competitors may gain tablet market share by targeting consumers’ price expectations, and that Apple will eventually be forced to offer lower priced iPads.

The study, “Apple's iPad: Users, Buying Intentions and Price Expectations,” also found that iPad users are not simply hardcore Apple fans: many continue to use mobile phones and computers from other brands, and still feel positively towards them.

Only 22%...

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Dec 06
The Plugin Site releases FocalBlade 2 for MacOS X

The Plugin Site (http://www.thepluginsite.com) released version 2 of its FocalBlade plug-in for Mac OS X. It's a sharpening plug-in for Photoshop and other compatible applications.

FocalBlade 2 also reduces noise and produces blur, soft focus and special effects. It supports one, two and three pass sharpening workflows, incorporates modes for various tasks and experience levels offering interactive explanations for each feature. FocalBlade even batch process images with the help of actions or scripts.

FocalBlade 2 purportedly renders 10 to 100 times faster than version 1 (depending on the used settings and CPU). It supports multiple sharpening workflows and various output devices. FocalBlade 2 is now fully scripting aware and supports smart filtering in Photoshop CS4 and CS5.

FocalBlade 2 achieves better sharpening effects with less artifacts through improved edge masking and halo...

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Dec 06
SQLLiteManager adds table editor with foreign key support

SQLabs has updated SQLLiteManager (http://www.sqlabs.com/sqlitemanager.php), a SQLite database manager tool for Mac OS X and Windows, to version 3.6. The upgraded features a new table editor with foreign key support and a low level SQlite, three-database analyzer.

SQLiteManager is a graphical user interface (GUI) database manager for SQLite databases. it allows you to open and work with SQALite 2.x, SQLite 3.x, in memory databases and REALSQL Server databases. It allows you to create and browse tables, views, triggers and indexes. SQLLiteManager enables you to insert, delete and update records and supports arbitrary SQL commands.

It works with Mac OS X 10.4 or higher. A SQLiteManager single license is US$49, and a $20 discount coupon code is available for SQLiteManager 1.x registered users. Company and multiplatform licenses are also available. SQLLiteManager is a...

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Dec 06
Password Repository update improves the category dialog editor

Tension Software has updated Password Repository ("http://www.pomola.com/products_passwordrepository/passwordrepository.html), a Mac OS X password storage utility, to version 2.12.2. The upgrade improves the category dialog editor, now it correctly scrolls on new created row. It also improves field editor, now it correctly select the first field creating the first row in a new document.

Password Repository lets you save all your passwords in documents protecting them on disk using a single password. Data is encrypted using strong and bullet proof algorithms, and the password protecting a document is not saved in any place. Password Repository costs US$30, though version 2.12.2 is a free update for registered users of version 2.0.

The software is Universal Binary so runs natively on both PowerPC and Intel Macs. It requires Mac OS X 10.5 or higher.

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Dec 06
Optique SMS Salon software ready for the Mac

OptiqueSMS Salon Software (http://www.optiquesms.com) is now ready for Mac users in the U.S. and Canada. It's salon management software program for luxury boutique owners, hair, beauty and nail salons, spa resort operators and esthetic retail shops.

Features include: point-of-sale (with split commission; shared commission and or family sale); service and product history; daily sales review; end-of-day cash-out; automatic payroll; a time card system; client gift certification and gift card system; and fixed, progressive and sharing commission.

Pricing starts at US$699 for a single-user license. A license for up to three people is $999 and up to six people is $1,299. An unlimited user license costs $1,599. OptiqueSMS offers competitive upgrades from competing products; also, custom development is available at extra cost.

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Dec 06
RunRev introduces way to create iPhone/iPad apps


Runtime Revolution (http://www.runrev.com) has introduced what it says is the fastest way to create applications for iPhone and iPad with its LiveCode Deployment Pack for iOS.

The new LiveCode for iOS lets software developers create applications for deployment to the Apple App Store using a tool that works across every major computing platform -- mobile, Web, Mac, PC, Linux and server. The new iOS Deployment Pack is a part of the LiveCode development platform, which includes individual solutions for desktop and web development, multiple users and other requirements.
 
As a cross-platform development solution, LiveCode for iOS allows developers to use the same code to deploy to multiple mobile platforms, while taking advantage of the many OS-specific features on each device, says RunRev CEO Kevin Miller. LiveCode pricing begins at US$99 for a one-seat, personal use license, including LiveCode...

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Dec 03
Apple sued for age discrimination

Another day, another lawsuit. Michael Katz, a Florida man in his 60s, has sued Apple, alleging that he was denied promotions when he worked at the company's retail store because of his age, reports "AppleInsider" (http://www.appleinsider.com).

He claims Apple violating the state's Civil Rights Act, as he believes he was subjected to discrimination based on his age. The complaint, filed this week, seeks damages in excess of US$15,000.

"AppleInsider" says Katz began working as a Mac specialist at the Apple store at Millennia Mall in Orlando in March 2006, when he was 60 years old. In his lawsuit, he says he expressed his desire to be promoted to the title of "Creative."

In his tenure at the Apple store, there were "several" openings for creatives at the store, and Katz claims he applied each time but was denied the position. Those who were selected for the job were at least 15 years...

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Dec 03
Analyst foresees digital TV, pico projector for the iPhone 5

Ticonderga Securities analyst Brian White said in a note to clients -- as reported by "AppleInsider" (http://www.appleinsider.com) -- that suppliers tell him that mobile digital TV and miniature embedded pico projectors are poised to become major selling features in future smartphones such as the iPhone 5.

"Watching local TV stations on a smartphone could be an attractive option for some consumers," White says. "Additionally, an embedded pico projector allows users to project a slide presentation or video on a wall or other surface in large size, which makes sense for the iPhone 5 in our view, as Apple seeks to expand the features in the next-generation iPhone."

In addition, the analyst says he could see the features also appearing in a future hardware update to the iPad, allowing users to have an "even richer experience."

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Dec 03
'PC World': MacBook Air performs worse than similarly...

Lab tests prove that many Windows 7 laptops having a similar price offer better performance than the 2010 MacBook Air models, reports "PC World."

"The numbers show that many Windows notebooks that carry a similar price tag outperform the 11-inch and 13-inch MacBook Air models we tested," the article says. "Other differences show up, too. Many of the better-performing Windows laptops are bigger and heavier than the Air, and some have poorer battery life. But if you’re interested in getting the most pop possible for your buck, it’s clear that the MacBook Air isn’t the best way to go."

You can read the details of their test at http://www.pcworld.com/article/211930/macair_tested2.html?tk=rss_news .

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Dec 03
Apple, publishers still disagree on mag app subscription details

Apple and the publishing industry haven’t been able to come to terms over magazine app subscriptions for the iPad. According to "All Things D" (http://mediamemo.allthingsd.com/20101203/apple-publishers-still-miles-ap...), publishers want the ability to sell the subscriptions themselves, or at least the opportunity to hang on to subscribers’ personal data, but Apple CEO Steve Jobs is opposed to that.

The article -- quoting "publishing sources" -- says here’s what Apple is offering publishers, according to publishing sources:

° The ability to sell app subscriptions through iTunes.

° Seventy percent of the revenue from each sale.

° The ability to offer an opt-in form for subscribers that would ask them for a limited amount of information...

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Dec 03
iPhone/iPod/iPad apps for Dec. 3

Here are the latest iPhone/iPod touch/iPod/iPad apps announced. You can find 'em at the Apple App Store (http://www.itunes.com/appstore/).

Namco Networks has unleashed Buccaneer Blitz, the latest addition to their suite of iPhone, iPod touch and iPad games. Available now on Apple’s App Store, the game can be purchased for $2.99. An additional 12 levels can be downloaded for an extra $0.99. In Buccaneer Blitz, players find their inner pirate and set sail to conquer 15 enemy levels in campaign mode.

Cameron Davidson has announced Arlington Cemetery 1.0 for iPad users. The $1.99 app offers a quiet reflection and tour of the scenes, rituals, ceremonies and monuments that are so important in commemorating the fallen heroes resting in Arlington National Cemetery. Users get to view some of the aerial, landscape and portrait photos taken by Davidson for his Smithsonian book, "A Moment of...

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Dec 03
comScore: Apple has 24.6% of US smartphone market

Approximately 60.7 million people in the U.S. owned smartphones during the three months ending in October, up 14% from the preceding three-month period, representing one out of mobile subscribers, accodring to a new report by the comScore research group (http://www.comscore.com).

RIM was the leading mobile smartphone platform in the U.S. with 35.8% hare of U.S. smartphone subscribers, followed by Apple with 24.6% share (up 0.8 percentage points). Google Android saw another month of strong growth, rising 6.5 percentage points to capture 23.5% of smartphone subscribers.

Microsoft accounted for 9.7% of smartphone subscribers, while Palm rounded out the top five with 3.9%. Despite losing share to Android, most smartphone platforms continue to gain subscribers as the smartphone market overall continues to grow, according to comScore.

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Dec 03
XILS Lab releases PolyKB II

XILS Lab (http://www.xils-lab.com/) has launched the PolyKB mk II, the recreation of a very polyphonic synthesizer released in the 80's.

The PolyKB II is a polyphonic subtractive synthesizer based on two waveform morphing, aliasing free oscillators and a self oscillating four poles low pass filter. The oscillators take a large part of the sound of this synthesizer while the filter recreating a standard analog chip of the 80's (with the help of very complete modulation sections), allows the PolyKB II to create "incredibly warm sounds from gorgeous basses to slowly evolving pads, through aggressive leads and thin crystal keyboards as well as a huge range of incredible special effects that all sound designers will love to use," according to the folks at XILS Lab.

Through Dec. 19, the new PolyKB II Synthesizer will be sold at introductory price of US$89 (it's normally $199) or as part of the "...

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