Liquid Image intros snorkel mask camcorder

US-based Liquid Image is now selling its latest product, the UDCM310 underwater diving mask with a built-in photo and video camera, in Japan via retailer Hanwha. The device sports an integrated 5-megapixel camera module that can capture can capture both video and still images at 720×480 up to 33 feet deep. Power and shutter buttons are integrated into the frame of the camera, which turns off autom…



Analyst report indicates resilient Apple, HP sales

A semiconductor and IT hardware report, produced by Kaufman Bros., is said to indicate that major companies — including Apple and HP — will continue solid sales into July despite lower sales than anticipated, following the second quarter ending with growth of 5 to 10 percent quarter-over-quarter. The research group also suggests that notebook and PC sales will maintain strength despite declining…



‘Macsimum Recommended Reading’ for July 9

Posted by Dennis Sellers

image“Apple launches HTTP Live Streaming standard in iPhone 3.0: One of the more overlooked features of the new iPhone 3.0 is support for a new open standard for live video streaming over HTTP, which promises to open up standards-based video broadcasting to a wide audience while giving mobile users an…





Intuit says new Quicken for Mac delayed to 2010

Looking to quash rumors that it will may never get around to releasing a once publicized overhaul to Quicken for the Mac, Intuit announced Thursday that the latest iteration of its financial management software will finally arrive in February of 2010.

Who dishes out those broadband stimulus grants? Maybe you

companion photo for Who dishes out those broadband stimulus grants? Maybe you

As we’ve reported, the US government has at long last announced that the first application window for broadband projects funded by that $7.2 billion in stimulus money will soon open. Two agencies are handing out the grants and loans: the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) and the Department of Agriculture’s Rural Utilities Service (RUS). The application process is complicated, and until this week it wasn’t entirely clear who was going to help pick the winners.

Now it’s at least a little clearer. The NTIA has released a call for volunteers to help its program select the wheat from the chaff. The volunteers will serve as panelists in selecting grant proposals.

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Fanurio for Mac OS X adds new timesheet view, more

Posted by Dennis Sellers

imageAtelier Software has released Fanurio 2.1, an update of the Mac OS X time tracking and billing application designed for freelancers. The upgrade adds spport for other languages than English. Initial translations are available for German, Romanian and Spanish.





Microsoft to launch Office web apps Monday?

Microsoft’s Monday event should mark a more formal debut for the company’s Office Web suite, tipsters said on Thursday. Although announced nine months ago, the suite is now said by Neowin to be getting a demonstration. It’s not known if Microsoft will commit to a public release at the gathering….



AmpliTube Fender 1.1 adds stompboxes

IK Multimedia has released v1.1 of AmpliTube Fender, a bass and guitar effects suite. The software simulates a number of the audio components produced by Fender, including amps, pedals and rack units. Found in the v1.1 patch are three new stompbox add-ons, beginning with a stomp compressor based on the Cyber-Twin SE. The gear produces higher input signal at the amp input stage, and can be cont…



iPhone for Life

iPhone3GS-2

I’ll posture that not many of us know the anniversary of the date we purchased most of our cellular phones — at least not before the iPhone hit the streets. (And if you do remember, hopefully you remember the important anniversaries too!) But things changed on June 29, 2007. Lines formed, and tons of iPhones were sold. Similar happenings have occurred both summers since, as the iPhone hardware has been updated. And although I’m on my third iPhone model, I’m not concerned with what my next phone will be, because I’ll own an iPhone for life.

This concept seemed like a fairly singular thought when it crossed my mind recently. But then I saw a link on Gruber’s site to this photo on Flickr. The subsequent comments clearly indicate that I’m not alone in holding my iPhone above those that came before. No longer do I scour the internet for news of the next big thing (unless it’s iPhone related, of course).

iPhone for life (I’m not a tattoo guy, but if I were…) is a concept I absolutely believe in. It sounds awfully short sighted and absolute, I realize, but I have faith in Apple. The company has proven time and again that it can innovate, and lead the pack. With my iPhone, I have all the features in my pocket that I could ever care to have. The army of developers who flood the App Store with hundreds of new apps each week mean that I’ll always be able to find whatever I want, to extend the abilities of my iPhone. As competition, such as the Pre, hits the streets, apps have become a big deal. And while marketing departments have hung their hat on the ‘apps’ buzzword as of late, they’re playing catch up in a big way.

Beyond just the iPhone, Apple has turned the act of purchasing — and using — their products into something special. The designs alone elicit awe and excitement. Apple gets at them early too, with offerings like free camps so little ones can learn to love its products while they’re impressionable (my son is enrolled in Summer Camp at the local store in the next couple of weeks, and is totally stoked about it). Adding free technical support and workshops takes it that much further. There’s a feeling that you belong to something when you own an Apple product, and that is what I believe makes the brand as sticky as it is today. Apple is not just a brand, it’s a culture.

I’ve seen firsthand the way that the iPhone has taken the iPod’s “Halo Effect” to the next level. Many friends have picked up iPhones over the past 24 months. They’ve loved these smart phones so much that they’ve gotten excited about taking the plunge into an entirely new computer system as well. (Some even going for a MacBook just because they figured it would sync with their phone easier — at the very least, a great excuse to jump on the bandwagon!) Once they’ve taken that step, almost unanimously, they’ve wondered to me how they ever got along on the PC for so long, when such an awesome alternative was out there waiting.

Not everyone is a gadget junky, as I myself tend to be. This life tends to be one of neglecting the gadget you’ve got, while drooling over the one that will hopefully come. But I’ve found bliss with my iPhone. Using the iPhone is just a great experience, not necessarily perfection (blasphemer!) mind you, but it truly is a joy to use. Apple already had me as a lifelong customer with its computers. But the iPhone has nestled its way into a niche in my life that for a very long time, was up for grabs. No longer — iPhone for life, baby!



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Review: The Punisher: No Mercy is fun, but needs work

companion photo for Review: <em>The Punisher: No Mercy</em> is fun, but needs work

Frank Castle has always been one of those comic characters we guiltily embrace, not because he’s consistently well-written, or well-drawn, or really all that interesting, but because he’s essentially a walking collection of clichés. He’s the vigilante we all admire, facing impossible odds and relying on brains, brawn, and simple firepower to wage his one-man war against evil. In short, he’s the perfect comic character for both movies and video games, though adaptations for both have been accomplished with only middling success. Now that the bitter taste of The Punisher: War Zone has left our mouths, gamers can download The Punisher: No Mercy from the Playstation Network.

No Mercy is a FPS developed by Zen Studios for the PS3. On paper, this already seems like a winning formula, but it sounds even better when you learn that the game features a number of unlockable characters and equipment that will appeal to fans of the comic. However, the problem with Zen Studios’ latest title is that it doesn’t feel quite like a final product. Instead, it comes across as a game that’s been released a couple of months too early—though it still has the potential to become better.

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CheckUp for Mac OS X gets updated user interface, more

Posted by Dennis Sellers

image App4Mac has updated, a Mac OS X tool for checking the health and monitoring the behavior of a Mac computer (even from a remote computer), to version 2.5. The upgrade sports an updated user interface, compatibility with recent Macs and an improved System view. 







Pre owners complain of lack of onscreen keys

Palm Pre owners are ironically complaining that their smartphones don’t have onscreen keyboards, a study by Strategy Analytics found today. Despite Palm having added the QWERTY keyboard in response to gripes about touch-only devices like the iPhone, many users want a software keyboard like Apple’s, as Palm’s design gives them no choice but to use the hardware solution. The opinion holds even for…



Apps: Fanurio, Pluto Menubar, myRecipes

Fanurio 2.1 ($60) is a time tracking and billing application designed for freelancers. The software allows users to organize work, track time and create invoices which can be generated into a text or html file using an invoice template. Users can also choose to export data as a CSV file which can then be imported into other applications such as Excel and Numbers. Version 2.1 allows users to change…



LaCie introduces mobile high definition multimedia player

Posted by Dennis Sellers

imageLaCie has announced its LaCinema Rugged multimedia hard drive is now available in high definition—in the US$349.99 LaCinema Rugged HD model. With enhanced HD capability, the LaCinema Rugged HD is the first multimedia player in its class, to allow users to store and play High Definition content on any HDTV…





Hands on With RunPee for iPhone

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One movie. One iPhone. One app. One blogger. That was the scenario last night when I put RunPee for iPhone to the test. Available from Rock Software (iTunes Link) for $0.99, RunPee lets you know which points in a given movie that are safe to miss.

When word of this app first hit TUAW, it inspired a lively discussion about the appropriateness of missing any part of a movie. Our own Christina Warren argued passionately that to do so would take you out of the movie, even if you never got up and left. Other, smaller-bladdered bloggers, welcomed the idea saying that if you had to go, it was better to go at a time where less was happening on-screen.

Since I knew I was going to be seeing Star Trek, I volunteered to put the software to the test. RunPee provides a timed list for most of the newest releases, Star Trek among them. I took my iPhone and headed off to the Cinema.

So how did things go? Well, to be frank, not as well as I’d hoped. First of all, the RunPee software provides a list of times and cues, so you know when to head loo-wards. For example, at nearly an hour into the movie, one character says to another to take the con. Notice that I do not mention which characters are involved.

RunPee is not that discreet. In fact, its relatively short list of times and actions can be seen as a series of movie spoilers. There’s no timed/reveal of each successive break so I was inadvertently spoiled from the start by several big plot developments, which are all shown on-screen at once.

In use it’s also really hard to track the suggested break times. The app comes with a built-in timer but no other cues. You cannot stick the iPhone in your pocket and wait for alarmed vibrations, pulling it out to see if you’re at the proper place or not. This feature is not in the software. Instead, you have to keep unlocking the screen and checking the time. It feels like work and it’s really annoying to the people around you who keep getting flashed by the lit iPhone screen.

To use this application, you need Internet access. There’s no way to download the data and then read it later offline. If your theater has poor cell reception, you’re out of luck.

In short, RunPee does not yet bring anything to the table that a spoiler website couldn’t. Yes, you get access to pre-timed lists that you could possibly use to service bladder interruptus but between the difficulty of use, the annoyance to other patrons, and the outright spoiling of movie points, RunPee didn’t do what I had hoped. So points to Christina, who argued exactly that.

In e-mail, the developer has promised to add vibration support and is working on improving the product in other ways. For now, if you don’t mind spoilers and you want to avoid the whole crazy astronaut woman syndrome, RunPee may supply the information you want. And the movie? Thumbs up. One of the better Star Trek offerings.

Name: Run Pee Mobile (iTunes link)
Developer: Rock Software
Platform: iPhone or iPod touch
Price: 0.99

TUAWHands on With RunPee for iPhone originally appeared on The Unofficial Apple Weblog (TUAW) on Thu, 09 Jul 2009 13:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Will the stars align for space-based solar power?

companion photo for Will the stars align for space-based solar power?

Although the US has plenty of terrain that’s well placed for producing solar power, the intermittent nature of that power and the distances of these sites from major population centers on the east coast puts severe constraints on what we can do with it. Space-based solar power, which can gather energy around the clock and transmit it to most of the populated areas of the planet, provides a way around these limits, one that was already being contemplated before the energy shocks of the 1970s. 

Unfortunately, the prohibitive launch costs and challenges of sending the energy back to earth have left matters at the contemplation stage, but with the current focus on renewable energy, several companies are now betting that we’ll see hardware in space well before the next decade is over.

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