Under the radar – 11am GMT October 19


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Hello and welcome to the Monday news digest as we start the new week. Over the weekend you may have missed that the latest beta Mac OS X Snow Leopard fixes the recently disclosed data destroying bug, EyeTV for iPhone is there, gone and back again, Verizon makes it personal and new iMac speculation grows.

This morning we’re seeing all eyes on Apple, which reports its Q4 financials today – will iPhone sales be up to scratch? And we’re impressed with MacSupport.ca’s find of a kid’s book about Jobs, Wozniak and “creating the Apple computer – pictured, right.

More on iPhone Rock Band for iPhone has shipped; Twitter co-founder has hatched a plan for iPhone credit card payments; Apple approves another VoIP app. On the Mac, an interesting story on the battle for the cloud; Flip4Mac has been upgraded for Snow Leopard and UK schools continue to embrace mobile learning, with one offerng an iPod touch to every student as part of the plan. All this and our latest hand-picked cut-price toys for our readers. See you after the blip…

Eyes on Apple – will results shine?
Apple will reveal its Q4 results after market close later on today.Recent reports claimed iPhone sales may be depressed as Apple has had a hard time keeping stock in channel, will this impact results? “The driver is if the iPhone keeps selling well," said Hudson Square Research analyst Daniel Ernst.

"Mac is a huge part of the company and I think it’s going to get better next year, so while there may be some risk in the iPhone sales for the quarter, people will take some solace in that the Mac sales are pretty strong."

Apple has beaten consensus Wall Street EPS estimates in every quarter for the past two years.

Read it here. or read the WSJ on this here.

Rock Band for iPhone ships
There’s so much expected of this release, which is at last here and available to download now on the App Store ($9.99).

ROCK BAND features a multi-player mode (via Bluetooth), allowing up to 4 players to rock out on the go. While you can also play via single-player mode, you can use the integrated Facebook Connect to invite your friends to join in.

Read it here

iPhone is a credit card (terminal)
We follow this one with interest. While iPhone technologies haven’t yet advanced toward making the device a secure payment system, developers are chasing after another holy grail, that of transforming the device into a credit card.

Recall reports of testing taking place of iPhones doing this in a shop in New York? Now it turns out the tests were being run on behalf of Twitter co-founder, Jack Dorsey and his Squirrel project, which is in fact the Square iPhone Payment System.

Read it here

VoIP exploding on iPhone
We’ll see speculation Apple plans to lock the carriers out of  voice calls with VoIP over data networks next, probably, but we following AT&T’s detente on VoIP, apps supporting the protocol are arriving at the App Store thick and fast. The latest entrant, Rebtel, is available now.

Rebtel joins a growing rank of Internet telephony applications including Skype, Truphone, Nimbuzz, Fring and Vonage.

Read it here

Battle in the cloud: Apple v. Windows v. Google
“Although Windows still runs 90% of PCs, the fading importance of the PC means that Microsoft is no longer an all-powerful monopolist. Others are also building big clouds, including Google, a giant of the internet, and Apple, renowned as a maker of hardware, with a market capitalisation that now exceeds those of both Google and IBM, its original arch-rival.” The Economis.

An interesting look at Microsoft’s declining importance as competitors innovate their way beyond it in the network-driven cloudy skies…

Read it here

Flip4Mac upgraded for Snow Leopard
Teleetream’s Flip4Mac WMV software for Mac OS X has been updated for Snow Leopard compatibility. It also delivers an optional install of Microsoft’s Silverlight software (Silverlight is installed by default, but it can be omitted by deselecting the Silverlight option after clicking the Customize button in the installer.) Still doesn’t offer full Safari compatibility.

Read it here

1,000 students in Bolton, Lancashire
1,000 pupils at a Bolton school is set to be given an iPod touch as part of a wider technological drive costing £250,000. It’s all part of an initiative to boost learning attainment at the school, as educational researchers become ever more convinced that digital natives need digital tools.

Read it here

Bargains from the Toys Section
We scour the shops each morning to try to find you some kind of useful bargain, here’s today’s deals – more in our Toys Section

US Deal
What’s not to like in a 32GB flash drive? Well, potentially not for everybody, but if you want a non-ipod to shift your data around, then this hugely discounted deal on the Kingston DataTraveler I – 32 GB USB 2.0 Flash Drive DTI/32GB (White/Orange) means you’ll pay just $59.99 for the normally $150 product. And 32GB will let you easily shift a lot of movies, images, music and other data between Macs. Head over and take a look…

UK deal
Two fab UK deals this morning. Good news for UK readers with the Shure Se530 Sound Isolating Earphones now costing just £268.73 down from £499 launch price. In our opinion, these are the very best earbud headphones around, so we’d recommend them to any music lover seeking the best possible audio experience. Now they’re a better deal than ever, so do check them out.

Alternatively, keen photographers may benefit from the Hama 4024 Mini Tripod – especially when we let you know these currently cost you just 40-pence rather than the normal £32 retail price – a saving of £31.60. If you use a camera (equipped with a 1/4” tripod thread) then you surely see something to tempt you in this deal? Go and check it out.

That’s all for now, but do check back later for more in 9to5Mac’s constantly updated selection of news items as they come through the ether.


Dane-Elec intros new line of USB 3.0 external hard drives


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Dane-Elec has announced a series of external hard drives, the So SuperSpeed HDDs and SSDs, that will support the upcoming USB 3.0 standard. The drives will provide data transfer speeds of up to 250MBps, which is roughly ten times the rate available in current USB 2.0 devices. The So SuperSpeed drives consist of USB 3.0 HDDs which range in capacity of 500GB to 2TB and come in 2.5-inch or 3.5-inch formats, along with 80GB and 160GB SSDs that have been re-branded as Intel M-25 drives….




Laughingbird launches Business Card Creator for Mac


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Laughingbird Software has launched Business Card Creator, a new app for developing logos and creating modifiable business cards, postcards or letterhead templates. The program includes over 95 matching templates, with customization options for scaling, rotation, colors or adding new text and images….




Hacks enable MMS on first generation iPhones and tethering on 3.12 OS


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In a series of tweets today, iPhone Dev team leader, MuscleNerd, revealed some hacks that might make your iPhone life a little more interesting. 

First, there is a baseband hack called whiterat that will allow 2G iPhones to send and recieve photo MMSes.  Apple’s 3.0 update only enabled MMS on iPhone 3G and 3GS models.  Nifty!

Next up is a two-bit (not $.25) baseband hack that will re-enable sweet, sweet tethering on the most recent 3.1.2 iPhone OS-updated iPhones.  The previous tethering hack only worked on iPhone 3.0 software and firmware.

AT&T isn’t likely to enable tethering until 2010.

Both of these are pretty hardcore, as they mess with your iPhone’s baseband.  That definitely means that they fall into the "USE AT YOUR OWN RISK" category.  As he and we remind you, this could also cause AT&T to do some extra gouging to your phone bill.

That being said, let us know if you’ve had any success in trying these or if there are easier ways to acomplish the above.

 

 


SFX Machine Pro for RTAS 1.1.3 – Flexible multi-effects and sound design tool.


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SFX Machine is now available in RTAS format for Digidesign’s Pro Tools. SFX Machine Pro for RTAS gives you quick and easy access to hundreds of audio effects, from the conventional to the bizarre.

The SFX Machine family of plug-ins is a two-time winner of Electronic Musician’s Editor’s Choice Award. Streamlined for use in audio production environments, SFX Machine has been used for sound design for radio, TV, feature films, CDs and video games. In addition to providing an unparalleled collection of effects, any of which can be easily modified, SFX Machine Pro for RTAS lets you create your own effects from scratch and also serves as a “Swiss Army knife” of audio utilities.

FEATURES

  • A modular synthesis preset editor
  • Host tempo sync
  • Output limiter
  • Over 300 effects

WolframAlpha hits the App Store for a whopping $50


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WolframAlpha, the computational searchable database that went live as a website a few months ago is now an iPhone app.  "Fantastic!" you might say.  You’ll take it?  Just one thing though.  It is $50!  And it doesn’t do much that the Web page doesn’t.

WolframAlfa $50 App Store link – via TechCrunch.

 


Current Charts 1.0 – Get the most out of your Current Cost Envi CC128 energy meter.


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Great application to get the most out of your Current Cost Envi CC128 energy meter.

Some of the highlights of Current Charts are:

  • Create stunning charts of your energy consumption, CO2 production and costs.
  • Charts for real-time data and historical data.
  • Automatically create a website about your energy consumption. Several templates included.
  • Upload all charts, including thumbnails, to a ftp server.
  • Network clients included. See the real-time energy consumption (and temperature) on any computer in your network.
  • Receive energy report in your mailbox (daily, weekly or monthly).
  • No complex installation procedures. Just double click to run it.
  • More…

When robots fall in love: Ars reviews Machinarium


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companion photo for When robots fall in love: Ars reviews Machinarium

Machinarium wastes no time at all getting you familiar with its world, dropping you directly into the action without any form of introduction. You’re a robot who has been trapped in some sort of prison-like facility and you need to escape. That’s all you know. There is no exposition at all—largely because there is no actual dialog in the game—so the bits of story you do pick up throughout the adventure are sparse but meaningful.

Though initially appearing to be nothing more than a cute adventure starring quirky robots, the game slowly reveals itself to be a touching tale of separated lovers and a crumbling society straining underneath an oppressive leadership. Think of it as Wall-E meets 1984 with a steampunk makeover.

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Verizon Attacks iPhone With “Droid”


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droid_does_adOver the weekend, Verizon launched its second attack against the iPhone, a condescending teaser for an upcoming Android-based phone, Droid. However, unlike the first ad, which rightfully attacked AT&T’s anemic network coverage and dependability, the Droid ad goes after the iPhone.

According to Verizon, the iPhone doesn’t:

  • have a real keyboard
  • run simultaneous apps
  • take 5-megapixel pictures
  • customize
  • run widgets
  • allow open development
  • take pictures in the dark
  • have interchangeable batteries

That’s it? It’s like this ad is from 2007, what with the keyboard and battery complaints. People don’t care. In fact, touchscreen is now a desired feature on smartphones according to research. Besides those tired bromides, Verizon nitpicks the camera and appeals to nerds over multi-tasking and philosophical differences concerning development.

The latter is especially hilarious, because until the success of Apple’s App Store, Verizon not only told developers what they could sell, but how much they could charge. The company is currently planning a new store that, while not technically excluding competitors, aggregates content under its own store. How open of them, but what about the Droid itself?

Besides the fact that it’s an Android 2.0 phone to be released sometime in November, we don’t know much. The ad cuts from the “iDon’t” list accompanied by cheery background music to static-laden cut scenes possibly suggesting some kind of techno-future in which “droids” rule the iWorld. Beyond that, there are a few vague adjectives like hi-res, hi-speed, video, tunes. As for concrete features, how about speech recognition and 10,000 plus apps. It’s actually kind of sad to see Verizon forced to advertise the comparative dearth of Android apps to the Apple App Store because the latter simply cannot be ignored when advertising smartphones anymore.

In fact, the whole “iDon’t” concept reminds me of an ad from the console wars during the last millennium. Back then, Sega launched a “Nintendon’t!” campaign highlighting the many perceived failures of the Super NES when compared to the Genesis. We all know how that turned out. Whether you call it an iPhone clone or a droid, I don’t expect this war to be any different.



In Q3, NewNet focus turns to business models and search. Read the, “NewNet Q3 Wrap-up.”

Modeling a black hole with a 300 GigaWatt laser


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companion photo for Modeling a black hole with a 300 GigaWatt laser

Black holes are famous for having a gravitational field that is so potent that light cannot escape its pull. But that same gravitational pull causes nearby matter to reach energies that results in a prodigious amount of radiation, from regular light up to X-rays and beyond. Researchers have attempted to model the behavior of matter as it gets drawn into accretion disks near a black hole in order to understand this radiation, but the conditions in these areas are difficult to reproduce on Earth. Now, a consortium of researchers from China, Japan, and Korea have figured out how to use a 300 GigaWatt laser to reproduce conditions near the accretion disk, and have successfully reproduced the spectrum observed near both black holes and neutron stars.

In many cases, black holes and neutron stars form in binary systems, and their intense gravitational pull can be sufficient to strip matter off their companion star. That matter gets drawn into a disk of gas centered on the black hole, where some of it is slowly dragged into the black hole. This process can produce luminous jets of matter that move at close to the speed of light as it exits the system along magnetic field lines that extend from the poles of the black hole. Within the disk itself, the matter nearest the black hole is heated by energetic collisions as it’s drawn towards the event horizon. The light from that matter also ionizes the material towards the outer edge of the disk, resulting in high energy radiation that we can detect using equipment like the space-based Chandra X-ray Observatory.

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Review: Fujifilm F70 EXR


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Having struck a chord with its semi-pro F200 EXR compact, Fujifilm has tried to expand its appeal further by offering the F70 EXR a lower-cost model that somehow achieves an even more ambitious 10X zoom. Experienced photographers will find a number of things to like in the new point-and-shoot, but is it enough to serve as a sidearm or even as a main camera? Our F70 EXR review comes to an answer….




The gyrobike wants to save children from scrapes, at a price


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companion photo for The gyrobike wants to save children from scrapes, at a price

The art of teaching your child to ride a bike hasn’t changed in… well, ever, really. You get a running start, swallow your heart, and let go. Soon they wreck, you wipe up the tears, and start again. Hopefully, soon, the wipeouts become less frequent, and away they go. Daniella Reichstetter, the CEO of Gyrobike, wants to sell you a better way. With a powerful gyro, your child never has to eat pavement again.

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Verizon sets its sights on Apple, AT&T in ad campaign


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Verizon has upped the ante in its battle versus Apple and AT&T, airing a series of ads which make claims of AT&T’s lack of 3G coverage and iPhone shortcomings.

Weird Science serves up homosexual fly porn


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The smell of sex, or lack thereof: Pheromones are a big deal in the animal world, where they mediate all sorts of social signals. This is apparently true for everyone’s favorite fruit fly, Drosophila melanogaster, where the genetic elimination of pheromone producing cells had some rather unusual effects

For starters, members of other species couldn’t tell what they were looking at, and tried to mate with melanogaster females. Within the same species, males preferred to go after the pheromoneless females, but they also attempted to mate with males that didn’t produce pheromones. Those of you interested in catching some hot, homosexual fly-on-fly action are in luck, as Nature is hosting a movie. Unfortunately (or, perhaps, fortunately), both are trying to mate as males, so they don’t manage to line things up quite right, leaving one to attempt to mate with the other’s face.

Juggling on the brain: When it comes to the brain, the term “white matter” refers to the its wiring, the bundles of axons that connect nerve cells within and among different areas of the brain. Since nerve cells are known to change their connections in response to repeated stimuli, the title of a recent paper makes a good degree of sense: “Training induces changes in white-matter architecture.” But it quickly descends into jargon, with the authors stating, “we detected a localized increase in fractional anisotropy, a measure of microstructure, in white matter underlying the intraparietal sulcus following training of a complex visuo-motor skill.” For the not so jargon-inclined, that translates roughly to “bits of the brain got bigger after our subjects learned how to juggle.”

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Mac 101: Add Screen Sharing folder to Dock for quick access


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More Mac 101, our series of tips and tricks for novice Mac users.

This is really two tips in one. The first is a fairly basic one that new Mac users might not know: you can drag any folder to the right-hand side your dock (to the right of the faint-white lines which separate the Trash from applications). When you first set up an account, the Applications, Documents, and Downloads folders are already there.

The second is a “news to me” tip: did you know that when you connect via screensharing to different Macs, a file is created in your home directory at ~/Library/Application Support/Screen Sharing/?

These files can be used to reconnect to those machines simply by clicking on them. This means that you can launch Screen Sharing without having to switch to Finder, locate the machine, and then click the “Screen Share…” button. If you screen share to a different Mac, the .vncloc file will automatically be added to that folder. Just drag the folder of Screen Sharing shortcuts to your dock to make it into an easily-accessible Stack.

Using the Finder does have one advantage: if a computer is not available (if it’s powered off or asleep) it will automatically disappear from the “Shared” section in Finder. The files in the Screen Sharing folder will still be there, so if you are having trouble connecting, you might check Finder to make sure that it still “sees” the computer you are trying to reach.

Henrik Nyh also suggested putting VNC shortcuts in a Stack in the dock, and he adds the notion of picking some suitable icons for them. Check out his rundown here.

TUAWMac 101: Add Screen Sharing folder to Dock for quick access originally appeared on The Unofficial Apple Weblog (TUAW) on Sun, 18 Oct 2009 15:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Talkcast reminder: it’s Mac Help night, live at 10 pm ET


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Last week, we were joined by NPD & Engadget’s own Ross Rubin for a fun-filled hour of tablet speculation, iPhone VoIP consideration and Talkshoe & Skype frustration. You can download the show, along with all past shows, from Talkshoe or subscribe in iTunes.

We’ll be back live tonight with one of our every-so-often Mac Help hours; call in with your Mac OS X questions, concerns and headscratchers and we’ll do our best to advise you, live and in real time (yes, this can go off the rails very easily — that’s part of the spectacle).

To participate on TalkShoe, you can use the browser-only client, or you can try out the classic TalkShoe Pro Java client; however, for maximum fun, you should call in. For the web UI, just click the “TalkShoe Web” button on our profile page at 10 pm Sunday. To call in on regular phone or VOIP lines (take advantange of your free cellphone weekend minutes if you like): dial (724) 444-7444 and enter our talkcast ID, 45077 — during the call, you can request to talk by keying in *-8. Talk with you then!

TUAWTalkcast reminder: it’s Mac Help night, live at 10 pm ET originally appeared on The Unofficial Apple Weblog (TUAW) on Sun, 18 Oct 2009 13:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Physics 101 SE 7.5.1 – Physics homework & studying tool for high school and college.


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The perfect solution for physics students and teachers everywhere, Physics 101 SE is the premier tool for physics, allowing you to focus on physics and not mathematical busywork. With its ability to instantly solve for almost any variable in over 150+ (list of formulas) of the most commonly used physics formulas, you’ll be able to quickly and accurately complete physics assignments like never before. Just select the formula you need, enter values like distance and time, then click “calculate.” With Physics 101 SE, it’s that simple, every time.

  • 150 Physics Equations organized in twenty-four sections
  • Abbreviation Lookup
  • Free Body Diagram Simulator
  • Formula Guides and Examples
  • Lab Report
  • Motion Analysis Feature
  • Projectile Simulator
  • Periodic Table
  • Orbits simulator
  • Oscillations
  • Optics
  • RelativisticFX
  • Resistor Circuit Simulator
  • Superposition
  • Unit Converter
  • Vector-Addition Tool & Graphical Analysis
  • QuickCalc

ACLr8 1.2.1 – Automatically finds and repairs “ACL found but not expected” errors.


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ACLr8 is a Mac OS X command-line tool written in Python that will analyze your entire hard drive searching for files that cause the “ACL found but not expected” errors in disk utility, and remove all ACL from them.

Although these errors are relatively harmless, they can be quite annoying and they cause permission repairs to take much longer than they should. ACLr8 is very safe, but of course you use it at your own risk.

Thundergod gets you out in the rain without getting wet


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I’m spending the weekend in Northern Arizona on a photo shoot. It’s dry up here, but I took along a little iPhone/iPod touch app that put me in the center of several dramatic thunderstorms.

The app is called Thundergod [iTunes link]. With creative microphone technique, and a good set of headphones, you’d swear you were in a raging storm, or a rain forest, or one of 5 other environments, listening to nature at its most spectacular. You can listen and let your mind drift off, consider the state of the universe, or just fall asleep in a soft rain using the built in sleep timer.

I suspect the techniques used to make these recording are similar to the highly regarded binaural technique, using 2 microphones separated by the approximate distance between your ears. Then when you play back with good headphones, you are instantly transported to a hyper-realistic, almost holographic place that closely duplicates being in a real space with real sounds.

This effect doesn’t work through speakers. It can sound nice, but it’s not startling or compelling. With headphones the sound comes alive, and you can begin to have an emotional reaction to what you are hearing.

The app also allows for a special equalization curve if you are using earbuds like the ones Apple includes, and it is effective. This app as produced by Holographic Audio Theater, who gave us the free app Naturespace that shows off their recording and producing prowess. It’s a good introduction to their technique.

Thundergod is not cheap. It’s a U.S. $9.99 app, but of you look at the App Store reviews you’ll be surprised how many purchasers thought the app was worth the money.

The sounds are not short repeating loops, but something like a long concert that has a beginning, a middle and a conclusion. I liked the ‘Thor’ environment the best, because it was the most dramatic and attention-grabbing. It’s not for relaxation, but for stimulation. If relaxation is what you want, there are sonic environments included for that as well.

My suggestion is that you try the free intro app, and if you like it, then go ahead and get Thundergod. The effect can’t really be described, but must be experienced.

TUAWThundergod gets you out in the rain without getting wet originally appeared on The Unofficial Apple Weblog (TUAW) on Sun, 18 Oct 2009 12:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Blow Up 2.0.3 – Photoshop plug-in that produces dramatically sharper enlargements.


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Blow Up 2 is a Photoshop plug-in that produces enlargements dramatically sharper than any other software, especially Photoshop! Blow Up uses an innovative algorithm that temporarily converts pixels to a vector representation which results in perfectly smooth, crisp edges. Simulated texture and film grain keep photos looking natural even in extreme enlargements. Blow Up can even clean up JPEG compression artifacts when a client insists on using a low quality source image from the Web.