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First look: OS X Yosemite

06/24, 7:27am

Apple leverages OS X Yosemite to land a hammer blow on Android

Apple's WWDC 14 was a massive event with many interesting talking points and implications as our team examined. Although Apple has been relatively quiet on the hardware front since the launch of the all-new Mac Pro in late 2013, it is now very clear that it has been doing anything but standing still. iOS has become Apple's flagship operating system, by virtue of the massive success of the devices that the OS powers. Apple's iOS install base is ten times as large as its Mac install base (even though at 80 million users, the latter is now at record levels for Apple too). Consequently, Apple has poured considerable energy in to advancing iOS. However, with OS X Yosemite, Apple has worked hard to bring the Mac OS into line with iOS, but also to make the two operating systems more seamlessly integrated than ever before. In doing so, OS X Yosemite could be the most important iteration of Apple's desktop OS since its inception.

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Hands On: Focus 2 Pro gives pros, amateurs emphasis control

02/26, 3:29am

MacPhun software offers options to direct attention in photos

MacPhun software, known for its line of photo-editing software, has introduced a new version of its Mac-only photo-emphasis program Focus 2 with a new Pro version that can also be used as a plug-in as well as a standalone app. The upgrade adds a number of features over the more casual Focus 2, giving photographers more freedom to enhance or alter their work for emphasis and attention. MacNN has been testing the new Focus 2 Pro, and we like what we see.

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First look: Intel NUC Kit

02/04, 6:20am

Intel aims for PC and HTPC enthusiasts with the Intel NUC Kit

Simply put, the Intel NUC Kit is a "bare-bones" Mini PC desktop. It is aimed at do-it-yourself PC enthusiasts as well as users interested developing a customized home theater PC solution. The Next Unit of Computing (NUC) model that we have been provided with by Intel is the second-generation model and features a number of marked improvements over the original unit that debuted in 2012. It is an intriguing product for Intel and we were keen to take a first look at it ahead of a full review.

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First Look: Dell's Venue 8 Pro Windows 8.1 tablet

11/22, 5:22pm

Dell delivers a surprisingly suitable tablet so far

We've made no secret of the fact that we're fans of mobile devices with styluses, as evidenced by our raves about Samsung's Galaxy Note series. So it should come as no surprise that we were interested in checking out Dell's new Venue 8 Pro device and its active stylus. The 8-inch tablet runs Windows 8.1 – the full Windows – so we're also interested to see how well Microsoft's struggling platform works on an 8-inch slate form factor. Dell sent us a review unit, and you can check out our initial impressions by clicking on through.

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First look: Sony PS4

11/15, 7:23pm

Sony PS4 delivers on the hype with stunning gaming performance

Coinciding with the North American launch of the Sony PS4, Sony held multiple launch events across the globe to celebrate this watershed event for the Japanese technology giant. Electronista was on hand at the Australian launch event and had the opportunity to get some quality hands-on time with Sony's next-generation play for your family room. There has been plenty of hype leading up to the launch of the PS4, with the Sony marketing machine in full swing, so does the reality of the gaming and entertainment experience live up to it?

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First Look: Dell Venue 7 Android tablet

11/13, 9:16pm

Hands-on with Dell's low-end enterprise slates

The mobile computing revolution has largely left Dell – along with most other traditional PC giants – in the lurch. Even as it goes private, Dell is still striking out into the mobile device market, releasing new Android and Windows tablets aimed at providing enterprise clients an option for low-cost touchscreen devices. We just received a review copy of the Venue 7 Android slate, and we've got a few first impressions to share on Dell's latest touchscreen device.

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First look: Google Nexus 5

11/06, 5:57am

Google, LG team for 1080p 5-inch Nexus 5

The Google Nexus 5 went on sale just a few days ago and it is already out of stock in most of the 10 ten countries that were lucky enough to get launch stock. Some Google Play stores are indicating that each of the four variants won't be shipping out of the warehouse for another four to five weeks. If you were planning on getting one, but have missed out, is it worth waiting over another month for one of the most eagerly anticipated Android handsets of the year?

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First Look: Amazon's Kindle Fire

11/18, 12:05am

Amazon dives into tablet market

Amazon's Kindle Fire has finally arrived on the market, officially bringing the retailer into the tablet arena. Electronista has taken a look at the new device, which faces stiff competition from Barnes & Noble's Nook Tablet and Samsung's Galaxy Tab 7.0 plus in the seven-inch category, along with the iPad and other Android tablets in the 10-inch group.

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First Look: iGrill cooking thermometer and iOS app

01/29, 4:20pm

Temperatuer updates sent via Bluetooth

It is not quite grilling season in most of the country, but iDevices is already showing off its iGrill system for iOS devices. MacNN stopped by the company's Macworld Expo booth to check out the impressive system, which helps to eliminate the need to constantly run outside and manually check meat temperatures for the perfect doneness.

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First Look: Blue's upgraded Yeti Pro condenser mic

01/28, 12:10am

Mic brings higher recording resolution

MacNN had a chance to check out Blue Microphones' latest offering, an upgraded version of the Yeti. The updated design, named the Yeti Pro, brings the same form factor as its predecessor, but with several features that may prove appealing to musicians. Both mics share the same arrangement of three condenser capsules, but the Pro variant adds stereo XLR outputs alongside the existing USB option.

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First Look: Optoma's Neo-i iPod/iPhone dock projector

01/27, 7:35pm

Projector offers decent brightness for its size

MacNN has previewed Optoma's Neo-i iPod/iPhone dock, which also doubles as a projector. The system, which was announced in November and brought to CES, integrates a pico projector that allows users to play videos or pictures from docked devices. Like many other small projectors, the Neo-i's picture became slightly washed out when viewed under the bright lights at the Macworld Expo.

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First Look: Jammit play-along app for iOS devices

01/27, 4:55pm

A fresh look at music education

Macworld Expo has served as the launch venue for a variety of new iOS apps, including a new utility, Jammit, that aims to help musicians learn how to play popular songs. MacNN took a closer look at the upcoming title, which quickly surpassed our meager expectations for a "play along" app designed for music education.

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First Look: fourth-generation iPod shuffle

09/08, 2:15am

Design reverts to second-generation form

Although Apple has focused recent iPod marketing on the new Touch, the entry-level offering has not been forgotten. The company has yet to settle on a form factor for the Shuffle, as the design seems to bounce between a vertical stick and a squarish shape. The fourth-generation model brings back the click wheel of the previous three editions, while reverting to a shape similar to the second generation.

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First Look: Amazon's third-generation Kindle reader

08/29, 9:25pm

Updated version brings welcome improvements

Electronista has taken a closer look at the third-generation Kindle, Amazon's latest attempt to cement its dominance in the e-book reader market. We found that the company followed through with its promise of an improved display paired with a lighter housing and ergonomic design. Page turns appear to be slightly quicker, while the "experimental" browser shows potential for basic tasks such as Wikipedia research.

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First Look: Google's Chrome browser for Mac

12/08, 5:55pm

Open-source browser takes on Firefox, Safari

Google has finally released a beta version of its Chrome browser for the Mac platform, following a year of availability for Windows users. The open source software is designed to compete with other popular browsers such as Safari and Firefox. The latest release offers many of the same features as the Windows version, although the early Mac beta still lacks several capabilities.

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First Look: Bento app leverages iPhone features

05/06, 9:25am

First Look: Bento iPhone

With its tiny keyboard, the iPhone might not seem like the best platform for building a database. But FileMaker says it has found a way to exploit the iPhone's interface, multi-touch gestures and Wi-Fi capabilities to make Bento for the iPhone as useful as its desktop counterpart. The result is an app that has many, but not all of the capabilities of its full-sized sibling.

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First Look: Livescribe Desktop brings smartpen to Mac

03/13, 10:00am

First Look: Livescribe Mac

Taking notes can be a real chore. While writing down an important point or copying a diagram, it can be easy to miss a speaker's next topic. Livescribe's Pulse Smartpen is designed to solve these problems, by recording both a user's notes and the corresponding audio. Previously available only for Windows users, Livescribe has just released its Desktop software for the Mac, giving users the ability to view, share and search their handwritten notes, drawings and audio recordings.

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First Look: iMovie 09, video editor

02/17, 3:50pm

iMovie 09, video editor

Two versions ago, iMovie HD 6 offered powerful video editing for novices. For iMovie 08, Apple completely rewrote the program to focus on making video editing simpler, but at the sacrifice of its more sophisticated editing features. When users howled their disapproval, Apple quickly made the original iMovie HD app available as a free download. Now with iMovie 09, Apple has combined the simplicity of iMovie 08 with the powerful editing capabilities of iMovie HD.

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First Look: Arcade Maniak, iPhone game

02/12, 12:20pm

First Look Arcade Maniak

The iPhone -- and the iPod touch -- are fast becoming popular handheld gaming platforms. Most of the available games put more emphasis on eye-hand coordination, but a few, like Arcade Maniak, are more intellectual challenges that require thinking instead of raw reaction time.

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First Look: iPhoto 09, photo manager and editor

02/02, 3:55pm

First Look iPhoto '09

The flagship title in the iLife '09 suite is arguably iPhoto '09. The original 2002 version helped to shape the way people store and organize digital photos, and the newest version carries on the tradition of making it fun and easy to generate personal libraries.

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First Look: iWeb '09, webpage editor

01/29, 3:00pm

First Look iWeb '09

There are plenty of options for creating webpages. Professionals typically opt for editors like DreamWeaver, while hardcore designers may choose to dive into the HTML code. It's theoretically possible to use ordinary word processors, but the resulting pages are often too simplistic. For the average person who wants to create professional-quality pages without taking design classes -- or learning the vulgarities of HTML code -- Apple offers the much simpler iWeb '09, a part of the new iLife '09 suite.

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First Look: NPR Mobile iPhone application

01/26, 4:45pm

First Look NPR Mobile

Even if you're a regular National Public Radio (NPR) listener, there's a chance you won't catch your favorite shows during the day. Many NPR stations offer podcasts, but if you're not keen on manually hunting for files and loading them onto a media player, you can let a program like the NPR Mobile iPhone app do the work for you.

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First Look: Thunder Pro A/V QUAD Interface Drive

01/22, 3:35pm

Thunder Pro A/V Drive

External hard disks are inexpensive enough that ideally, everyone would have one to backup their data. At the low-end it's possible to just cram a hard drive into an external enclosure, but if you prefer a more sophisticated solution, youll probably be happier with a dedicated drive. One such device -- marketed towards audio and video professionals, but usable by anyone -- is EZQuests Thunder Pro Drive.

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First Look: iWork.com beta, online file sharing

01/19, 9:45am

First Look iWork.com

The iWork suite may be good, but it's not the most popular office suite for the Mac; many Mac users are forced to use Microsoft Office to maintain file compatibility with Windows counterparts. To improve iWork's file sharing capabilities, Apple is now beta-testing an online sharing site dubbed iWork.com.

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First Look: Keynote '09, presentation software

01/12, 11:00am

First Look Keynote 09

Keynote is the oldest and most mature program of the iWork suite, which has regularly bested Microsoft PowerPoint in features and ease of use from its inception. With the latest version, Apple has continued innovating to keep Keynote '09 the star of the entire iWork suite.

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First Look: Sony's new P-Series 8-inch notebook

01/10, 2:45am

1st look-Sony P-series

First look: Sony at CES announced the VAIO P, which was on display and garnering interest from huge crowds milling around the Central Hall of the 2009 CES show. The notebook features an 8-inch LED-backlit screen and weighs in at 1.4-lbs, with an Atom 1.33 GHz processor and 2GB of RAM. The notebook size is comparable to a letter-sized envelope, just 9.6-inches wide by 4.7-inches deep and measuring only .78-inches high, with four color choices including black, white, red and green. The device runs on the Vista platform and offers an integrated GPS receiver with voice navigation. Wireless connectivity options include Bluetooth, Wi-Fi 802.11 B, G and N, along with wireless EVDO technology for Verizon's network.

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First Look: Numbers '09, spreadsheet

01/09, 5:20pm

First Look Numbers 09

As the last new application for iWork, Numbers introduced superior features, but lacked calculating firepower when put head-to-head with Microsoft's Excel. Numbers '09 attempts to remedy this problem, while building on the unique paradigm of a canvas where you place objects like tables, charts and shapes to create a visually-pleasing spreadsheet.

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First Look: Pages '09, word processor

01/09, 9:40am

First Look Pages 09

Pages has always been a decent word processor, but its never been powerful enough to replace Microsoft Word. Apple has, fortunately, boosted Pages '09 with more features in order to make it a better word processor, and an easier desktop publishing program. It may still not match Word feature-for-feature, but that could be a good thing, as what it does offer may be what you really need.

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First Look: iWork '09 improves productivity suite

01/07, 3:55pm

First Look at iWork '09

A First Look at iWork '09: Apple's senior marketing VP Phil Schiller announced iWork '09, with new templates across the board, support for sharing documents across the Internet via the new iWork.com, and numerous new features for Pages, Numbers and Keynote, which make up the suite. Schiller also announced a combo package of iWork and iLife. Keynote has added support for managing presentations from an iPhone or iPod touch.

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First Look: HP MediaSmart Server

01/02, 3:30pm

FL: HP MediaSmart Server

Many people own multiple computers, such as a notebook and a desktop, or a a Mac and a PC. The problem with multiple systems is backing up data from all of them -- while backing up a single computer is easy with an external hard drive, buying separate disks for several computers can become cumbersome and expensive. In the corporate world, businesses can back up multiple machines to a single server; HPs MediaSmart Server makes this option available at a reasonable cost to individuals, as well as small businesses.

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First Look: Microsoft LifeCam Show webcam

12/29, 2:30pm

First Look: LifeCam Show

If you have one of the more recent iMac or MacBook models, you have a built-in webcam, embedded like a third eye into the top of your monitor. If you have a Mac Pro or a Mac mini though, youll need to buy a separate cam if you want to do video conferencing or chatting. Although designed specifically for Windows XP and Vista users, the Microsoft LifeCam Show is a webcam that also works flawlessly with any Mac. The most obvious difference between this one and others is its size.

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First Look: Verbatim TuneBoard speaker/keyboard

12/19, 3:15pm

FL: Verbatim TuneBoard

Many people use whatever keyboard happens to come with their computer. Apples standard keyboard may be acceptable, for instance, but you may want a more versatile keyboard -- say, one that lets you play and control your favorite songs through built-in speakers. An example of this comes from Verbatim, and is dubbed the TuneBoard.

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First Look: MacPilot, Mac OS X tweaking utility

12/18, 12:20pm

First Look: MacPilot

You can customize any good operating system, and Mac OS X is no exception. While the System Preferences window lets you tweak components like the desktop or audio output, many more customizable features of the OS are hidden away. To get at these buried settings the most immediate solution is to enter cryptic commands into Terminal, but if youd rather modify a Mac using a familiar point-and-click interface, take a look at MacPilot.

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First Look: Little Snapper, screencapture utility

12/16, 1:35pm

First Look: Little Snapper

When viewing webpages or programs on your Mac, you may want to capture some of the images to view later. Fortunately, every Mac lets you capture all or part of a screen image using one of the following commands:

  • Command-Shift-3: Saves a screenshot of the entire screen as a file on the desktop
  • Command-Shift-4, then select an area: Saves a screenshot of an area as a file on the desktop
  • Command-Shift-4, then space, then click a window: Saves a screenshot of a window as a file on the desktop
  • Command-Control-Shift-3: Copies a screenshot of the screen to the clipboard
  • Command-Control-Shift-4, then select an area: Copies a screenshot of an area to the clipboard
  • Command-Control-Shift-4, then space, then click a window: Copies a screenshot of a window to the clipboard
Memorizing these commands can be cumbersome of course, and storing screen images as files or in the clipboard can be clumsy. Worse, you still need to take time to organize and edit your screenshots. To capture, organize, edit, and share screenshots, you could use multiple programs, or you could try Little Snapper.

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First Look: WhatSize, file management utility

12/12, 12:00pm

First Look: WhatSize

No matter which Mac you have, you can never have enough hard drive space. Unlike PCs however, iMacs and Mac minis tend not to lend themselves to quick hardware upgrades -- when you buy a Mac, youre usually stuck with the hard disk that comes with it. The moment you start running out of room, youll be forced to start deleting files. Finding which files to delete can be troublesome unless you use a tool like the shareware app WhatSize.

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First Look: iAntiVirus, Mac antivirus software

12/10, 4:40pm

First Look: iAntiVirus

Many Mac anti-virus programs waste their time scanning for Windows contaminants. While this may be fine if you need to share files with Windows users, you may not want a program that gobbles up excess memory and processing time just to protect against malware that can never even hurt your own hardware. If youd rather have an anti-virus app that focuses solely on keeping Macs virus-free, one option is PC Tools iAntiVirus.

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First Look: VirusBarrier, Mac anti-virus software

12/08, 11:15am

First Look: VirusBarrier

The majority of worms, viruses and Trojan horses attack and infect Windows systems. While the Mac is theoretically more secure due to its Unix underpinnings, the growing popularity of Macs may only make them more enticing as a target. There are already a handful of Trojan horses for the Mac, and the threat will likely continue to grow. Anti-virus software may remain optional for Mac users, but if you want to play it safe, you can protect your Mac with something like Integos VirusBarrier.

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First Look: Memeo Share, direct digital photo sharing

12/05, 11:50am

First Look: Memeo Share

Nearly everyone has a separate digital camera, or one built into a mobile phone or computer. While taking a basic picture is easy, sharing pictures may not be. You can show them in person of course, but if someone lives far away, your choices are more limited. You can print and mail your pictures, which costs money and takes time; the alternative is e-mailing them or posting them to a website, but many pictures can be several megabytes in size, limiting the amount that can be sent. Posting on a website also risks exposing images to strangers. Fortunately, theres a third alternative and thats to use something like Memeo Share.

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First Look: Cell Ranger, cellular signal booster

12/02, 8:50am

First Look: Cell Ranger

Every cellular phone network has weak spots in certain parts of town. If youre constantly dropping calls in these areas, you could simply avoid making calls there, or you could plug the Cell Ranger into your car's cigarette lighter. The idea behind Cell Ranger is to boost any cellular networks signals so you can connect and make phone calls in formerly poor-coverage areas. (Curiously, the manufacturer notes that this unit does not work with Sprint/Nextel cellular networks.)

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First Look: Samsung Propel SGH-a767

11/21, 12:40am

Samsung Propel SGH-a767

Practically everyone has a mobile phones these days. While some people prefer the top of the line, latest gadget, others prefer less expensive, simpler phones. If you fall into this latter category, then you might be interested in the Samsung Propel SGH-a767.

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First Look: Parallels 4.0, virtualization software

11/13, 5:30pm

Parallel 4.0

Ever since Apple switched to Intel processors, Macs have been able to run the most popular operating systems for the x86 architecture including Linux and Microsoft Windows. Apple offers Boot Camp for free, which lets you create a dual-boot partition, but forces you to choose between Mac OS X or Windows each time you turn on your computer. For a solution that lets you switch between Mac OS X and any other operating system without rebooting, you need a virtualization program such as Parallels 4.0.

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First Look: QuickBooks 2009 for Mac

11/10, 7:50pm

FIrstLook QuickBooks 2009

The growth of Mac market share is having some pleasant side effects -- especially for software. Instead of just releasing ported Windows versions, the economics of scale has made it practical for some developers to rewrite their titles to take advantage of Mac OS X features and ease of use. Intuit has made that investment in QuickBooks 2009, and the result is a much more "Mac-like" application. Simplicity is the key, the company says, and a host of new features have been added to reduce the learning curve for the venerable small business accounting application.

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First Look: T-Mobile G1 vs. iPhone

11/09, 11:50am

T-Mobile G1 First Look

When Apple released the iPhone, they set the standard for mobile phones with its innovative touch screen. While people have lined up to buy an iPhone, competitors have released various iPhone clones in hopes that lower prices and different features will appeal to consumers. Now Google has finally released their Android open source mobile phone platform and the first incarnation has appeared as the T-Mobile G1 phone. If you arent quite sold on an iPhone, but want a better conventional mobile phone, youll find the Android an intriguing option.

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First Look: Lotus Symphony 1.2 Mac OS X beta

11/07, 5:35pm

Lotus Symphony 1.2 beta

For the longest time, the only real office suite for the Mac was Microsoft Office. While not a bad office suite, many people dislike the high retail price (although the home edition is far lower at $149 compared to $399 for the retail version). In addition, other Mac users simply object to using any product created by Microsoft. Apples iWork is a less expensive option at $79 while the latest OpenOffice 3.0 is completely free. For yet another choice, take a look at IBMs Lotus Symphony 1.2 beta for the Mac.

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First Look: Handsfree speaker and iPhone charger

11/06, 5:00pm

Handsfree iPhone speaker

In many places, its now illegal to drive while holding and talking on a mobile phone. Since chatting while driving can be so convenient, you have two choices. First, you can pull over to the side of the road every time you want to chat with your iPhone. Since this essentially negates the advantages of driving while chatting, your only real option is to get a hands-free device for your phone. If you have an iPhone, consider the Car Windshield Mount with Handsfree and charger for iPhone 3G with USB charging Port from USBFever.com.

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First Look: ScanSnap S300, PDF sheet-fed scanner

11/04, 4:20pm

ScanSnap S300

Computers were supposed to give us the paperless office, but anyone who uses them knows that they create more paper than ever before. While paper can be convenient for storing information, its not always as convenient to store or share with others in large quantities. To solve this problem, Fujitsu offers a unique portable device called the ScanSnap S300.

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First Look: Simplifi, dock, card reader, and USB hub

10/31, 1:20pm

Simplifi, dock/reader/hub

One of the biggest flaws of Macs is that they dont include built-in media card readers. This makes sense, given the bewildering array of different media cards available and the fact that media card readers offer more slots than anyone could possibly want or use, hence wasting space and marring the uncluttered appearance of the computer. Another problem with any computer is the limited number of available USB ports. If this problem of media card readers and USB ports sounds familiar to you, then consider Griffin Technologys Simplifi.

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First Look: Mind Habits, stress relief game

10/28, 10:20pm

Mind Habits game

Most people play video games for fun or to relieve stress or boredom in their life. While shooting radioactive mutants or driving a car through animated city streets at top speed may take your mind off your problems, the moment youre done playing, reality smacks you in the face all over again. If you want to play a video game that can boost your self-esteem and improve your self-confidence both during and after you stop playing it, take a look at a unique stress relieving video game called Mind Habits.

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First Look: Bento 2, personal database

10/27, 12:25pm

Bento 2, personal database

For years, the most popular Mac database has been FileMaker. While FileMaker has a reputation for being powerful and easy to use, its also geared more towards commercial developers, cross-platform development, or people who need heavy-duty data processing. If your database needs are much simpler, you could still use FileMaker, but you might find the program a bit more complicated than necessary. You could also use the Address Book, which comes with every Mac, but you might find that too limiting. For an easy database thats also powerful enough for more than trivial tasks, consider FileMakers Bento 2.

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First Look: Samsung Rugby SGH-a837, mobile phone

10/17, 12:50am

Samsung Rugby SGH-a837

Many mobile phones may appear aesthetically pleasing when seen on a store shelf, but they may prove too fragile to deal with the bumps and bruises from everyday life. Thats what makes the Samsung SGH-a837 mobile phone so different. With a flip-up, clamshell case that covers the keypad when not in use, this phone is designed to take abuse and keep on working.

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