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Microsoft has yet to offer a reason for problems with its Genuine Advantage (WGA) service, which stopped functioning properly between Friday night and Saturday morning. Though it was fixed by later on Saturday, the glitch temporarily identified many legal copies of Windows as illegal, crippling their features. While WGA can disable relatively little in copies of Windows XP, much more can be harmed in Vista, such as the Aero interface and the DirectX API, the latter of which is crucial to many media services, such as games. The only temporary solution is to disable anything that contacts WGA, at the cost of updates and patches. Since remedying its servers, Microsoft has offered to help restore affected copies of Windows to their full functionality.
Apple may have already put in place several design cues that would make the frequently predicted Mac subnotebook a reality, well-known Japanese concept designer Isamu Sanada has pointed out through a new concept rendering. Nicknamed the "MacBook lite," the concept would use the tubular structure of Apple's recent Bluetooth keyboard, the LED display backlighting first seen in the new 15-inch MacBook Pro, and either flash memory or a smaller hard drive to reduce the thickness below that of any existing subnotebook. This design could also use a touch-sensitive keyboard to reduce size even further and potentially fit a DVD drive, Sanada says.
In advance of the IFA 2007 show in Berlin, Kodak has leaked information on three new EasyShare cameras. The preeminent one is the V1253, which can not only take 12-megapixel still photos, but shoot videos at resolutions up to 720p. The zoom lens has a 35mm equivalence of 37-111mm, and the sensor sensitivity extends to ISO 3200, enabling flash-free shots in otherwise dim environments. Other touted specifications include a 3.1-inch LCD, and 32MB of internal memory supplemented by SD and SDHC cards.
Pano Logic today revived the concept of the thin-client PC with its self-titled Pano device. The small computer is just inches wide and will be virtually free to use through a totally network-based environment that virtualizes a copy of Windows and all local programs on a server, stripping out most of the up-front costs of owning a system. Even the main CPU and local storage are absent, Pano Logic says. The system not only saves the cost of buying a full PC for each person but also improves security by hosting all data behind a secure area. Power consumption is also extremely modest at just five watts.
Sanyo and Willcom today partnered to reveal the unusual Wilcon, a concept cellphone the two hope will pave the way for more easily-powered devices. Helped largely by the extra longevity of Sanyo's eneloop battery design, the similarly battery-shaped phone can operate for up to five full hours of conversation or 250 hours of standby on a single AA battery; users could simply recharge the battery (up to 1,000 times) or replace it altogether at a local shop, Willcom says. The power demand is reportedly light enough that a solar panel could recharge the device without much difficulty.
Samsung will be responsible for handling the Sprint WiMax presence in New York City, Reuters reports. Samsung has officially been given "lead vendor" status in New York, meaning it will see the bulk of profit from building and installing necessary radio hardware, as well as supplying phones and chipsets. No date for the availability of WiMax to subscribers has been set; the news remains significant, however, as Sprint's forthcoming XOHM service has only been announced for three cities to date: Baltimore, Chicago and Washington D.C.. The New York debut may coincide with the proper commercial service, beginning in Spring 2008.
Iomega has introduced a new line of home network hard drives that use 10/100 Ethernet do deliver media and other files to desktops, portables and other drive-accessing systems throughout a home or small business. The new drives are available in 320GB, 360GB and 500GB capacities, featuring 7200 RPM SATA-II hard drives with 8MB cache. The drives aren't quite plug-and-play, however, requiring use of a "Discovery Tool Home utility" for Windows on each PC and a manual setup process for Macs and Linux-based systems. All three models include a USB 2.0 port for use with a single computer. Also bundled are two client licenses of EMC Retrospect HD backup software, allowing users to set up automated backup schedules or perform immediate backups; create progressive backups that capture only the changes from the previous backup; restore a file to any previous backed-up point in time; compress backups; and more.
An Arizona court ruling late last week could potentially upturn the entire peer-to-peer software business, according to observing lawyers. In the case of Atlantic Records versus Jeffrey and Pamela Howell, presiding judge Neil Wake has ruled that the Howells' act of making content available through KaZaA equated to copyright infringement by itself and that the Howells were liable for perceived damages, which now reach $40,500 and include a permanent injunction which would prevent the Howells from infringement in the future. Using settings to control P2P trading are invalid as there have been "several cases" in the past where defendants had let their local content transfer to other users, Judge Wake said.
Dell today improved the eco-friendliness and management control of its pro offerings with the OptiPlex 755. The system is one of the most efficient desktops from Dell to date and matches the tougher EnergyStar 4 standards for power draw and includes special power settings that can cut effective power use by as much as 78 percent, Dell claims. The update also adds Intel's brand-new version of vPro that allows admins to remotely manage the system even when there is no OS or the system is shut off. The Texas PC designer includes its own remote client manager to back up Intel's platform.
Yahoo! has upgraded its web-based mail service with several important changes. The first is a text messaging application, which sends SMS messages to mobile phones at no extra charge; this feature is currently available only in the United States, Canada, India and the Philippines. The company has also implemented instant messaging support, allowing users to get in contact with people on Yahoo! Messenger and Windows Live Messenger clients.
USBFever.com has launched its Ultra Slim USB Travel Charger that works to charge an iPod or iPhone on-the-go. The charger measures 42 x 70 x 15mm and weighs 43 grams, charging devices with 5V 1A output. A retractable power plug eases the charging process, and the entire charger is shorter than a credit card and only half as high as a SIM card (1.5cm). The company today also unveiled its iPhone Aluminum Case, a protective cover for iPhone owners filled with neoprene lining that ships with a 360-degree swivel belt clip. USBFever.com's device charges an Apple iPhone or iPod, most PDAs, cellular phones, and USB-powered MP3 players. The Ultra Slim USB Travel Charger is priced at $12, while the iPhone Aluminum Case is available for $20.
Nokia today made aggressive steps into music phone accessories with a series of new Bluetooth audio systems. The stereo BH-903 (pictured) and mono BH-902 each revolve around a monochrome OLED screen that provides vital data beyond the basic notices of other earpieces. Both sets display call data and notify of inbound MMS and SMS messages; the 903 adds a full directional pad for controlling music on any cellphone that fits A2DP stereo audio profile, and will also pause music for new phone calls.
One iPhone user who holds a full-time day job as a Java developer has created a UPnP (Universal Plug-and-Play) client for Apple's iPhone that provides access to streaming audio and video content. UPnP is designed to simplify network connectivity of PCs and intelligent devices -- such as the iPhone -- by using TCP/IP and the Web to enable control as well as data transfer among networked devices. The software, which is in an early alpha stage but is "very usable," will show up on SourceForge.net in the near future, according to the developer. Apple's iPhone currently offers built-in support for YouTube but lacks access to UPnP content out-of-the-box. The software will allow iPhone owners to access their own UPnP services as well as remote locations over the internet with a simple proxy configuration.
Nokia today stepped up the features of its mapping devices with a new model. The Auto Navigation 500 includes Nokia's largest screen yet for one of its GPS models at 4.3 inches while merging the device with Bluetooth for hands-free calling support. An integral FM transmitter beams audio through a vehicle's sound system and provides a convenient boost to sound for the built-in audio and video media players. Navigation is made easier with contact information for nearby points of interest and Traffic Message Channel support that provides live overlays of road congestion and the option of avoiding slower roads.
Wolverine began its week by shipping the Wolverine ESP 5250, making it the most capacious handheld media player to date. The notebook-size 250GB hard disk allows it to store as many as 80,000 songs and 500 hours of video; an optional cradle turns the device into a semi-portable DVR. FM radio is built-in and can also be captured. Photographers should be pleased with room for 125,000 photos, native RAW support for most large camera makers, and a multi-format card reader with CompactFlash, SDHC, and other newer memory standards.
Sony today became the first computer builder in the US to offer Blu-Ray in an all-in-one PC with the introduction of the VAIO LT. Larger than the Japanese L series, the 22-inch LT is large enough to be used both as a PC and for watching HD video content; an optional version now includes a Blu-Ray rewriter that can play and burn dual-layer 50GB discs. Every LT also brandishes HDTV and analog TV tuning that runs independently from the PC, allowing users to watch live video (including over CableCARD) without waiting for the PC to boot up. A VESA wall-mount kit is an option for particularly space-conscious users who need even less of a footprint in the living room or at a desk.
Taiwan computer giant Acer today announced that it would acquire Gateway through a share buyout valued at $710 million. The move is meant to give Acer an edge in the US market and will create the third-largest PC maker in the country with 10.8 percent of the market -- nearly doubling the marketshare of next-best competitor Apple's 5.6 percent, according to data from research group IDC. It should also create the third-largest computer company in the world, Acer claims. Both Acer and Gateway believe the merger will complement their own strategies, with the Taiwan firm receiving a boost in recognition and Gateway receiving better presence for itself and its eMachines budget label.
SanDisk on Monday kicked off the release of the Sansa Clip, one of its smallest and most capable screen-equipped players yet. Although smaller than most matchboxes, the Clip has both a four-line color OLED and an iPod-like wheel that helps users easily pick tracks in spite of the small size. Audio quality is also the best you could expect for the class, SanDisk claims. The Clip additionally blurs the lines between traditional in-pocket players and wearable models with its namesake clip fastening the player to a belt or detaching for a thinner profile in a closed space.
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