NI intros Sonic Fiction synthesis instrument


This post is by MacNN | The Macintosh News Network from Macnn | The Macintosh News Network


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Native Instruments has released Sonic Fiction, a new Kore instrument featuring “otherworldly” samples. The software provides a variety of field recordings such as volcanic mudpots and television static, among others. Users can select a sample and apply the synthesis and sound processing functionality of Absynth, Kontakt and Kore engines….




Gartner: PC sales bouncing back faster than expected


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Gartner today said the computer industry is recovering much faster than expected. Based on processor sales, the analyst group estimates PCs have turned from double-digit year-over-year declines at the start of the year to slight increases by the end. It still expects processors, flash memory and other chip technology to face an 11.4 percent decline for all of 2009 but also anticipates levels jumping back to an all-time high seen in 2008….




Pasting with style in Apple’s iWork suite


This post is by Sang Tang from The Unofficial Apple Weblog (TUAW)


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In Apple’s iWork suite, the “Paste and Match Style” or “Paste Style” options, as implied in their names, allow you to paste the style from one element onto another; or to paste an element into a document and to match the style of the document that it’s getting pasted to. In many ways, they’re the iWork equivalent of “format painter” found in Microsoft Office. And, in many ways, they’re much better.

Continue reading Pasting with style in Apple’s iWork suite

TUAWPasting with style in Apple’s iWork suite originally appeared on The Unofficial Apple Weblog (TUAW) on Mon, 16 Nov 2009 15:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Seattle’s new Mayor wants to spurn Microsoft – for Apple


This post is by Jonny Evans from 9 to 5 Mac - Apple Intelligence


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Things are changing in Seattle, where Mayor-elect Mike McGinn wants to chuck the Windows-based PCs out the window – to make room for the Mac.

That’s because, unlike outgoing Mayor Greg Nickels or runner-up, Joe Mallahan, iPhone-using McGinn wants the best tools for the job, running Microsoft’s home city.

Did we mention yet that Microsoft is based in Redmond, a suburb of Seattle? We have now. That’s all we’re saying about it, OK?

Here’s what the Mayor-elects “people” said:

“We’ve asked the city IT folks about it and they’re looking into it for us,” said transition spokesman Aaron Pickus. “They were talking about new computers for the mayor’s office anyway, so right now we are looking to see if Mike and the mayor’s staff can work on Macs.”

Another detail – the transition team rejected the BlackBerry devices they were offered when they took that post, choosing instead to take on four iPhones to handle the job.

In an echo of this excellent piece in the Wall Street Journal (which basically points out just how consumers mostly use better technology than they get to use in the office), Pickus also points out: “It is in part a way to stick with the technology we were most comfortable with during the campaign, and in our personal experience.”

Via: Microsoft Blog


NVIDIA outs Fermi-based Tesla cards


This post is by MacNN | The Macintosh News Network from Macnn | The Macintosh News Network


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NVIDIA today provided details of the first official hardware to use its upcoming Fermi architecture. The Tesla 20 series is even more optimized for general-purpose computing standards like OpenCL or NVIDIA’s own CUDA and handles complex math that previously hasn’t been as practical, such as ISO standard double-precision math and C++ code processing. Unlike past models, though, the card model also has a video output and works as a video card rather than just as a companion device….




Phil Libin on the past, present, and future of Evernote


This post is by Steven Sande from The Unofficial Apple Weblog (TUAW)


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It must be nice to be Evernote CEO Phil Libin right now. His company’s product / service, Evernote, is about to break 2 million customers, they’re past the days of initial development and beta testing, and the future is looking bright.

I had a chance to chat with Mr. Libin last Friday about Evernote, the service that acts as a cloud-based repository for all of the information in your life. Last year during the closed beta test of the service, TUAW’s Brett Terpstra interviewed Libin, who called Evernote “universal human memory extension.” Whatever information you want to put into the Evernote cloud — text, photos, voice memos — is available for searching and viewing from your Mac, PC, or iPhone. Handwritten or printed text runs through a recognition routine that makes it searchable text, something that I’ve found incredibly useful when storing my business cards in Evernote. You can send web pages to Evernote from Firefox with the click of a button, or tweet notes to Evernote by addressing them to @myEN.

Libin ran me through a short history of Evernote, mentioning that many of the first reviews and discussions of it were provided by TUAW. The Mac app and the service began a closed beta in February, 2008, moving to an open beta in June of that year. As Libin noted, “We never really told anyone when we came out of beta; we just gradually removed the word ‘beta’ from the site and the software.” Since then, Evernote has signed up almost 2 million users.

When I asked Libin if Evernote was meeting the company’s expectations in terms of growth, he replied that “we’re right where we thought we’d be now.” In terms of the present and near future, there’s a lot going on. Localized versions of Evernote will be available by the end of 2009 for several European countries, with a Japanese localized version on tap for early 2010. Libin noted that “the Japanese market is huge! Evernote is listed in many Japanese magazines, half of our Twitter traffic is in Japanese, and we’re even thinking about opening an office in Japan.”

All of the client software has been recently updated. The first version of the software is always for the Mac; Libin is an unabashed Mac fan, having switched to the platform a few yeas ago. Some of the things we’ll be seeing in the near term include geotagging of all notes, which provides a way to search for information by where you entered it. For example, if you attended a conference and captured a lot of information through your Mac and/or iPhone, you could search for all notes that you entered while you were there simply because they were all captured in the same vicinity.

Libin mentioned that the most requested feature for the iPhone app is the local caching of notes. To add this functionality, the app will require a total rewrite, but support for full caching will be available in a few months. What’s great about this upcoming functionality is that there’s no need for a network connection to be able to view your Evernotes. Instead, you’ll be able to sync all, some, or none of your notes between devices. Notes that are created on the iPhone will stay there, as will notes that you view on the iPhone. Users will have the ability to specify which notebooks (logical collections of notes) they wish to sync to their iPhone. The company is still determining requirements for these user tunable features. Libin also mentioned that the upcoming changes to the iPhone app will make it much more usable on the iPod touch, opening up full usage of its feature set to a much larger audience that will no longer need to be tied to a Wi-Fi connection.

The future looks very bright for Evernote integration in other applications. Libin stated that over 600 developers have API keys, although only a handful of products are currently shipping. Existing partners with Evernote include EyeFi, the JotNot and Readdle Scanner Pro iPhone apps, ReQall, and Pixily, among others.

Pixily’s service could be especially useful for Evernote users who have boxes full of documents that are cluttering up their lives. They can send those paper documents — bills, magazine clippings, recipe cards, handwritten journals — to Pixily for scanning, and have then automatically transferred to their Evernote account for future reference.

Libin ended the call on a high note as well, mentioning that the company has recently received a new round of funding. For TUAW readers who haven’t yet tried out Evernote, you can register for the service here, download the Mac or Windows PC software here, or even try out the iPhone / iPod touch app [iTunes Link].

TUAWPhil Libin on the past, present, and future of Evernote originally appeared on The Unofficial Apple Weblog (TUAW) on Mon, 16 Nov 2009 14:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Apple Set to Release “Concierge” App to Make Scheduling Appointments Easier


This post is by Darrell Etherington from TheAppleBlog


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retail-reservationsScheduling a Genius Bar or One to One training session appointment has never been that difficult. Just go to Apple’s website, enter some information, and you’re done. But a new rumor over at AppleInsider suggests that it’s about to become even easier, thanks to a new in-house developed iPhone app that could be forthcoming very soon from Apple.

News of the app comes via a “source that has proven reliable in the past,” though no further information is given. The app is said to be able to create appointments for both Genius Bar and One to One, and to view membership details for programs that require a subscription. No word yet on a street date for the app.

Presumably the app would allow users to make any kind of reservation currently only available online, including a personal shopping appointment. Although the website system currently employed is easy enough to understand and use, I imagine a dedicated iPhone app designed by Apple would make the process so easy and intuitive that I’d probably actually use it far more than I currently do, particularly for personal shopping when new products launch.

MacRumors corroborates the report via separate sources, so it seems likely that the Concierge app will be forthcoming. I’d expect it to appear before the holidays, so that holiday shoppers can take advantage of it pre-gift giving, and people on the receiving end of Apple products can use it after the holidays to schedule appointments.

The Concierge app would be the latest move in a series of efforts focused on improving Apple’s retail performance, including in-store pickup for holiday shoppers, more and improved stores, and the new EasyPay touch system.

Google book settlement revised, criticized


This post is by John Timmer from Ars Technica


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companion photo for Google book settlement revised, criticized

Late Friday night, Google filed a revised version of its book settlement with the New York court that is overseeing the case. The new version limits the settlement to works published in a handful of English-speaking countries, and contains significant concessions that appear to be direct responses to some of the criticisms of the deal. Nevertheless, some of its harshest critics have clearly not been placated, as the revised deal has already come under fire due to continuing legal, privacy, and business issues.

Perhaps the most significant change made to the deal is the limit to its scope. The EU as a whole (and several of its member countries) objected to several aspects of the settlement, which could have seen Google offer scans of European works that have never been licensed for sale in the US. Google offered to add European publishers and authors to the board that oversaw the handling of book content, but that was apparently not enough to satisfy the European publishing business; as a result, most of the EU has been dropped.

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Apple working on ‘Concierge’ iPhone app, Nashua store?


This post is by MacNN | The Macintosh News Network from Macnn | The Macintosh News Network


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Apple is planning to launch a new iPhone app for visitors to its retail stores, several sources claim. So far dubbed “Concierge,” the app is expected to mimic the company’s web-based reservations system, which lets users schedule Genius Bar and One to One appointments. Users should also be able to monitor various types of membership subscriptions. No date for the app’s release has so far been leaked….




What if OnLive Came to the iPhone?


This post is by Darrell Etherington from TheAppleBlog


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iphone_onlive

OnLive made a lot of noise when it first appeared on the scene way back in March at the Game Developer’s Conference of 2009. It’s a service that’s said to be able to make a gaming machine out of any computer that can run the latest browsers, which would effectively end the madness that is PC gaming hardware upgrades. And now, it looks like it might be able to work on the iPhone, too.

What OnLive does is bypass the normal hardware barriers involved in PC gaming by streaming the game live to a user’s browser window from a server farm located nearby. The server farm deals with the game’s performance demands, and all the end user needs is a good enough connection to stream the content smoothly.

It’s a setup that sounds too good to be true, and many remain skeptical about whether or not OnLive will be able to deliver what it has promised. There was supposed to be an external beta this past summer, but that’s been delayed, which doesn’t exactly inspire confidence.

Still, if the service works, it will revolutionize the way gaming is done. The system has strong support from game publishers, which makes sense because without the hardware barriers, they stand to broaden their audience considerably. If that audience were to also include iPhone users, you can imagine that even more game companies would fall in line behind OnLive.

The company recently demoed an iPhone app that allows users to play full games alongside users of the PC OnLive service, or players using the company’s MicroConsole, a standalone device which connects to a display or TV — yes, even without the modern convenience of buttons, joysticks and bumpers. Presumably, onscreen controls allow you to manipulate the in-game action, although a report at Engadget Mobile doesn’t go into detail about how exactly it works, nor does a blog post at OnLive. Needless to say, your PC gaming friend will probably be able to school you at Modern Warfare 2 unless you’re some kind of touch control prodigy.

When the app does see release, which won’t be for a while, OnLive CEO Steve Perlman says it won’t allow you to game right away. Initial versions will allow you to monitor gaming stats and spectate, so you can watch live gameplay without taking part. Interactivity is planned down the road, but control kinks and other issues have to be addressed before it goes live to the masses.

What do you think? Would you take advantage of full-version gaming on your iPhone if you had the ability to? I foresee a very limited catalog of titles that this sort of thing would work with, but if it does become a reality, and it becomes popular, developers might design custom gaming experiences for people who access games via OnLive on their iPhones.

Wall St. Journal asks why PCs at work are so much worse than at home


This post is by Seth Weintraub from 9 to 5 Mac - Apple Intelligence


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The Wall Street Journal gives me a laptop with Windows XP, an operating system I found satisfying when it came out eight years ago but that lacks a lot of modern touches, like a speedy file-search function. My home computer, meanwhile, is a two-year-old iMac running the Leopard version of Apple’s Macintosh operating system. Among other virtues, it’s got a search function called Spotlight that lets me track down files in a flash. Or take email. Please. There’s a limit on how much email employees can store on the company’s system, and I routinely bump into it. So, I need to spend time hunting through old notes in Microsoft Outlook and deciding what to keep and what to delete, or risk a shutdown of my account. I’m not the only one; a colleague told me she often receives messages with large attached files that overload her inbox while she’s asleep.

The Wall St. Journal’s Nick Winfield talks about something we Mac users often face in the workplace.  Shitty, locked down Windows boxes that block sites we use and take forever to do basic computing operations.  The question is: Why? 

As the WSJ points out, the technology exists to divide work and play.  Give me the $2000 you’d pay on my Thinkpad running XP and I’ll put a Citrix client on my MacBook and maybe a VMWare partition for the 10 year old Intranet.  Meanwhile at home I’ll use a more robust Google Apps setup with 25GB of email storage.  I’ll even have some change left over if you keep those Windows Active Directory jockeys away from me.

It isn’t just desktops.  The story talks about Kraft’s experiment to give users a choice on phones.  No surprise that 60% chose iPhones.  Kraft employees were choosing Macs despite (or perhaps because?) the fact that they wouldn’t get support from IT.

The message isn’t explicitly Windows PC vs. Mac / Microsoft Servers vs. Cloud / iPhone vs. BBY, but that is how it reads.

The story is a great read and includes an audio portion as well.  Also not blocked by the WSJ Paywall for the moment.


First Look: WhatsApp


This post is by John Burke from The Unofficial Apple Weblog (TUAW)


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There’s a lot of buzz about iPhone IM clients.Other applications have gotten a lot of coverage for allowing iPhones to chat from their AOL, Google, ICQ, Jabber or a host of other screen names.

WhatsApp [iTunes Link] is different, calling itself an “iPhone-to-iPhone chat application” that provides direct messaging between iPhones. The application features push notifications and provides functionality similar to SMS.

So why bother trying it? The app makes it easy to chat with other iPhones with no need for screen names, logging in and out or the added cost of text messaging and cellular charges. It’s a lot like an iPhone version of Blackberry’s popular messaging service. You’ll also quickly and easily be able to point out which of your contacts have WhatsApp installed. Even if you’re offline, your messages will be saved until you’re back online.

Other cool features include the ability to “Broadcast” or send a message to multiple users, emailing of your chat history and sound and visual badges to show your unread message count. Users can also see when their friends are typing as well as the last time they checked their messages.

WhatsApp is free “for a limited time” so head on over to the App Store and grab it.

Here’s a few shots of the app in action:

Gallery: WhatsApp

Push notifications make it easy to keep in touch.View your recent chat history.Language support, and familiar chat interface.Update your status for all to see.View your contacts and quickly see who has WhatsApp.

TUAWFirst Look: WhatsApp originally appeared on The Unofficial Apple Weblog (TUAW) on Mon, 16 Nov 2009 13:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Daily Deals: $999 MacBook Pro Laptops, Logitech Pure-Fi Speaker Dock, App Store Freebies


This post is by Ed Sutherland from Cult of Mac


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We kick off another week with more bargains from Apple and others. MacBook Pro laptops are always a popular item and this time the Apple Store has nearly two-dozen factory-refurbished units. The MacBook Pros start at $999 for the 2.26 GHz 13.3-inch item. Others MacBook Pro laptops range from 2.53 GHz to 2.66 GHz and […]


OnLive promises server-based gaming for iPhones


This post is by MacNN | The Macintosh News Network from Macnn | The Macintosh News Network


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Gamers should in the future be able to play OnLive titles via an iPhone, the company claims. The forthcoming service takes an alternate approach to processor load, shifting the burden from local devices to OnLive’s servers; gamers play via a video stream, making performance more closely tied to bandwidth. Early iPhone support was demonstrated late last week alongside clients for TVs and computers….




MenuMeters 1.4b4 – Menu extras: CPU, disk, memory & network monitoring.


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MenuMeters is a set of CPU, memory, disk, and network monitoring tools for MacOS X. Although there are numerous other programs which do the same thing, none had quite the feature set I was looking for. Most were windows that sat in a corner or on the desktop, which are inevitably obscured by document windows on a PowerBook’s small screen. Those monitors which used the menubar mostly used the NSStatusItem API, which has the annoying tendency to totally reorder my menubar on every login.

The MenuMeters monitors are true SystemUIServer plugins (also known as Menu Extras). This means they can be reordered using command-drag and remember their positions in the menubar across logins and restarts. MenuMeters is open source freeware released under the GNU General Public License (GPL).

Hitachi offers 2TB SimpleTech external drive


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Hitachi on Monday added a new range of SimpleDrive external desktop hard drives available in up to a 2TB capacity. In addition to the new capacity, the disks have a Turbo USB 2.0 interface that is said to be 25 percent faster than the traditional spec. Hitachi includes its Fabrik backup software, which automatically copies over selected files from the host PC and includes 2GB of free online backup….




Analysts: Tablet Could Offer ‘Stunning’ Graphics


This post is by Ed Sutherland from Cult of Mac


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Apple’s much-awaited tablet device may include graphics capable of “stunning resolution” able to outshine the iPod, iPhone and possibly sound a death-knell for Amazon’s Kindle. The device, which many expect to see during the first quarter of 2010, may also offer a Webcam for mobile video conferencing, according to a survey of analyst speculation.
Analyst […]


Mac cloner guilty, but “hackintosh” tools will persist


This post is by Jacqui Cheng from Ars Technica


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companion photo for Mac cloner guilty, but "hackintosh" tools will persist

Apple has won a landmark victory against Mac clone maker Psystar, though it doesn’t spell doom for the rest of the hackintosh industry just yet. US District Judge William Alsup ruled late last Friday that Psystar had violated Apple’s copyrights when distributing Mac OS X with its machines, and that the company was also in violation of the anti-circumvention provisions in the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. As a result, Judge Alsup dismissed Psystar’s counterclaims and ruled in favor of Apple, but Apple still has a long road ahead if wants to shut down other hackintoshers.

The legal battle between Apple and Psystar began more than a year ago in July of 2008, several months after Psystar introduced its first bargain-basement Mac clone for $399 that could run Mac OS X 10.5 (Leopard). Since then, the legal fight has been a drama-filled soap opera—Psystar’s original countersuit was thrown out completely, followed by a bankruptcy filing that revealed that Psystar owed its law firm more than $88,000. In July of 2009, Psystar changed its mind on the whole bankruptcy angle—which Apple believed was a stall tactic to begin with—and switched to Jammie Thomas lawyer Kiwi Camara.

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