Lets users check connection speed, aggregate national averages
The US Federal Communications Commission has refreshed a broadband speed-checking tool for iOS that was originally created in 2010, and updated it for iOS 7 and other modern technologies. The free FCC Speed Test is part of the Measuring Broadband America initiative, and is part of an FCC initiative to get a better "performance map" of US broadband. Users can view historical test data and current performance using the program.
Gaming company to reevaluate business strategies
Nintendo is off to a rough start in 2014, after news in January of a less-than-optimal quarterly performance for the company that saw the forecast number of units of the Wii U cut as revenues were down across the board. It didn't help that the company that it opened itself up to a small controversy over the use of smartphones to market upcoming products -- a plan it first denied, then admitted to. However, the recent decline has caused Nintendo to look toward a different future as it looks to opening up new business strategies.
TomTom's GPS watches' new MySports mobile app, offering easy data upload
TomTom, a GPS gadget producer, has announced its latest software release to compliment its GPS watches. TomTom MySports offers flexibility to runners, cyclists and swimmers in respects to their interactions with their performance data. Users of the Sports Watch can upload and access their key performance information to the app without needing to connect to a computer.
Acase releases Tip Top and F1 cases for iPad Air
Acase, a designer and manufacturer of mobile device accessories, has announced the availability of two lightweight iPad Air cases: the TipTop, which emphasizes functionality, and the F1 Case, that focuses on style. The TipTop can prop the tablet in six distinct angles, and includes a hand strap for preventing drops while holding it. The F1 provides users with a cover that also can prop the tablet for adequate typing usage, and sports a black and red aesthetic that likens itself to an Italian race car. Both cases are made of premium leather, and feature magnetic covers that automatically turn the iPad on or off. Available on Amazon, the F1 Case and TipTop are each regularly priced at $40 and currently on sale for $25 and $20 respectively.
iOS DJ software adds content from major artists Snoop Dog and DJ Qbert
Creators of iOS DJ software Algoriddim have released djay 2 optimized for iOS 7. Featuring a fully-revamped user interface and new music library, users can now add an input track from their mixes directly into other participating audio apps for more creative opportunities using Inter-App Audio. Also included in the latest update, "Artist Packs" consists of a collection of 12 exclusive audio and vocal samples that can be loaded to the integrated drum pad sampler, allowing the user to trigger beats and vocal samples from their favourite artists' live performances. Snoop Dog and DJ Qbert are the first artists to have exclusive sound packs. Similarly, "Skratch Tools" is now an included feature, which is comprised of a collection of Qbert samples that users can use to 'scratch'. Djay 2 is available on the App Store for $2 for iPhone and $10 for iPad.
Will offer live streaming, reply-on-demand, artist bio information, schedule, more
With just 11 days to go before the month-long iTunes Festival begins in London, Apple has launched a revamped iOS app devoted to the music event, as well as silently updated Apple TV to add a channel dedicated to the festival. Both will feature schedules, artist bios, live streams of performances (which will also be available through iTunes) and an easy way to buy the music from the performances and on-demand replays. The annual festival begins on September 1 at the Roundhouse in London and features 60 top-name artists.
Primarily bug fixes, no new features added
Apple has updated it's live performance virtual-instrument and sound effects app MainStage to version 2.2.2, fixing some 14 issues mostly related to stability and compatibility along with general program issues. The update improves compatibility with the VAX-77 keyboard, and resolves a patch issue where patch lists weren't updated to VAX and Axiom keyboards if the keyboard lost and then regained connection after launching the program.
Picks up entire tab for 5,000 people
Tweets and other posts from Apple employees and a photo (seen after the jump) have confirmed that Apple bought out two performances of Cirque Du Soleil's current touring show Totem, which is playing in San Jose. According to accounts, the company paid not just for tickets for both yesterday's and today's performances, but also picked up the tab for food and drink. Apple purchased all 2,500 tickets for yesterday and today's shows for employees and their guests.
Comparison of Q4 '09 and '10 as "financial art"
Industry analyst Horace Dediu of Asymco has created an almost Mondrian-style financial chart presenting Apple's performance -- compared between the recently-released results of the company's 2010 fiscal fourth quarter (referred to as the calendar third quarter or CQ3) and the same period in 2009 -- to visually illustrate expenses, margins, profits and growth in a single, understandable graphic.
Mac Benchmark charts updated
A new version of the cross-platform desktop-sharing software, TeamViewer, has been released. New to version 5.1 is terminal server support, allowing supporters to connect to different terminal server users and access their accounts remotely. The update also includes a new feature for transferring files using drag and drop functionality. Dragging a file to a partner's screen during a remote support session will automatically initiate a file transfer, placing the file on the users desktop. Other changes include: improved multi-monitor handling, an optimized remote tool bar, and searchable partner lists. A free trial of the software can be downloaded from TeamViewer's website, while Business, Premium, and Corporate licenses run for $700, $1400, and $2600 respectively.
Improved defragmentation of files
Prosoft Engineering has launched Drive Genius 3.0, a major upgrade to its hard drive maintenance utility designed to improve speed and overall performance. With the latest release 64-bit support has been added for Apple’s Snow Leopard operating system, and enhancements have been made for the defragmentation of files. Drive Pulse technology has also been added in order to help monitor the overall health of the user’s drive, and send alerts regarding any possible issues.
27-inch iMac core i7 bypasses some Mac Pros
Primate Labs has updated its Mac Benchmark chart, adding recent Macs to the list. The chart is a compilation of Mac-based performance scores generated from user-submitted Geekbench results. The comparison uses results from standard Macs instead of modified or overclocked systems. Numerically it uses a 1000-point baseline set to a Power Mac G5/1.6GHz machine.
Mic offers XLR and USB connections
Samson on Wednesday introduced the Q2U Recording Pack which includes a microphone, HP20 headphones, and other accessories. The Q2U dynamic mic features both XLR and USB outputs, allowing users to simultaneously connect with a computer and other gear for live performances and recording. The mic offers a cardioid pickup pattern and an integrated A/D converter for 16-bit, 48kHz sampling.
New version works better on large filesystems
Dare to be Creative has launched an update to its system cleaner and optimization tool, Sponge 1.3. The software is designed to work in the background and remove unwanted content such as applications, duplicate files and disk hogs. The new version features improvements to overall performance and usability, while utilizing fewer system resources. Version 1.3 is also more stable, with fixes geared for large filesystems.
WebCrusher 1.5 shipping
RAGE Software has launched WebCrusher 1.5, a major update to its Website optimization software. The program helps reduce a site's load time, providing faster overall performance by scanning entire websites, including page files and image files, and then intelligently removing all extraneous code for optimum performance. Version 1.5 adds speed improvements, especially for larger websites, along with enhanced CSS optimizations and fixes for PHP file optimization.
Sequel 2.0 music software
Sequel has upgraded it music creation and performance software to version 2.0, adding numerous improvements. Sequel creates a virtual music studio on a user's desktop. It allows live remixing, with multi-track support and built-in music loops and instruments. Version 2 adds a controller mode for accessing the software with an external keyboard or hardware controller. It uses MIDI learn functions to communicate external commands to the software.
Snow Leopard performance
At its current stage of development, the Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard beta is not outperforming 10.5 Leopard by any wide stretches, as developers dive into the new OS with GeekBench. The Netherlands' Mac Zone writes that benchmarking numbers indicate that 10.6 performs better than 10.5, but only by a small margin. This hardly is conclusive of the final product, however, given that 10.6 Snow Leopard is still under early development – early betas of 10.5 Leopard had a very Tiger-like interface and poorer performance than the final build.
Cynical Peak Software has released Rivet 1.1, a new version of that software that enables users to stream video, music, and photos from Mac OS X to an Xbox 360 over your home network. 1.1 adds better media browsing support and fixes performance and stability issues. Your Mac's folder structure and organization is completely reproduced to allow you to find what you want to view. Features include music streaming of your iTunes library, photo streaming of your iPhoto library and user defined folders, video streaming from user defines folders and full organization support
- RAGE SERank 1.7 ($60) Mac OS X search engine rank checker for website owners to track and monitor their search engine rankings. RAGE SERank will monitor search engine rankings for any number of keywords and display changes in a website's search engine rankings over any point in time. RAGE SERank 1.7 now lets you check up to 1000 search results so you can easily see if you are making improvements in your search engine rankings, even if you have not made it to the first 10 pages of search results yet. It also adds speed optimization options to the RAGE SERank database so you can make sure you are always operating at peak performance. [Download - 13.2MB]
- Today 1.2 ($15) a event and task management application for Mac OS X. Today shows you all the events and tasks that are stored in Apple's iCal in a small, easily navigable window. Today 1.0.1 is a maintenance release that addresses several minor issues reported users who downloaded the application since launch last week. This release adds the ability to double-click on an event or task to open it in iCal. [Download - 1.2MB]
- Fetch Art 2.0 (free) tool for adding cover art to your iTunes library. Useful if you've ripped your own music or don't have an iTunes Store account. The new release has fixes for compatibility with Amazon's new ECS 4.0 web service and improvements in accuracy logic in searching for art. It also removed dependency on Perl which should improve compatibility with future Mac OS X updates.[Download - 717KB]
- PDFpen 3.4.2 ($50) PDF editing and form-filling tool for Mac OS X. The update offers improved handling of font widths for fonts used frequently in optical character recognition (OCR), as well as a number of bug fixes. All the new features of PDFpen 3.4.2 have also been added to PDFpenPro 3.4.2, the Pro version that has the ability to create fillable PDF forms in addition to all the features of PDFpen. [Download - 5.3MB]
- Mailings 1.9.37 ($25) application for batch emailing that delivers any web page or plain text document with attachments to multiple recipients for marketing, news announcements, product updates etc. Mailings facilitates the task of delivering regular bulk email distributions with such features as logging, progress monitoring, scheduling, error recovery, throttling, personalization and much more. [Download - 4.8MB]
- Timepost 2.3.2 ($50) a reliable web-integrated time management system for Mac OS X. Timepost is a full-featured time tracking solution that integrates with internet project management services. Can post time to Basecamp, Blinksale, Cashboard, FreshBooks, FogBugz, and Tick. Not only is Timepost a simple project timer, but a powerful extension to your existing web service. The new release adds menubar timer access. [Download - 1.1MB]
- Modul8 2.5.5 (300 Euros) Mac OS X based real time, live performance video compositing software. The incremental update brings several interface enhancements, numerous bug fixes and added 'keyword' functions in its python scripting based module system. The update is free for all registered users and can be accessed using the in software update command. [Download - 20.9MB]
- iCalamus 1.13 ($130) multi-lingual, frame-oriented desktop publishing solution for Mac OS X. iCalamus offers an easy approach to DTP, and an excellent choice for creating simple posters, to complex magazines, scientific works and book publishing. Among the many new improvements and bug fixes, version 1.13 can now import iPhoto documents as calendars, as well as printing Photographerbook documents externally. [Download - 25.6MB]
- iWisdom 1.7 ($10) desktop program that will help you manage and maintain a list of quotations and insightful ideas. In this release, categorization of quotations is now much more powerful. Multiple separate categories may now be assigned to the same quotation, and the ability to define multiple levels per category has been preserved. [Download - 3.3MB]
- Label Wizard 1.0.0 ($30) lets you create your own custom sheets of labels. You have complete control over the layout of the label. Each object can be precisely position. Serial numbers are a special case, they will be automatically incremented on each label. So you can easily print out a sheet of labels, each with a unique serial number. [Download - 3MB]
- Scorecard 1.3 ($30) golf scorecard and statistics application for Mac OS X. Offers comprehensive statistics, helping users discover trends and explore aspects of their gameplay that might otherwise go unnoticed. Scorecard 1.3 gives golfers further insight into their problems areas with the new Best vs Worst statistics. Best vs Worst presents a comparison of key performance indicators which allow the golfer to quickly and easily see what part of their game went wrong when they didn't perform well. They can then focus on improving that portion of their game to improve their overall game play. [Download - 1.2MB]
- Keyboard Maestro 3.1 ($20) set of macros through which you can control applications, windows, or menus; insert text; open documents, applications or URLs; execute scripts and more. The Program Switcher lets you cycle through applications or windows, closing, hiding, launching, and performing other functions. This release adds many new clipboard features including persistent clipboard history via the new Clipboard History Switcher (command-control-shift-V by default), actions to set or save the clipboard, actions to filter the clipboard to apply BBEdit Text Factories to the clipboard, and support for moving and resizing and keeping open the various Clipboard Switchers. [Download - 5.6MB]
- DiscLabel 5.2.2 ($36) CD/DVD label design software for Mac OS X. It can import track lists from iTunes, iPhoto, iDVD, Finder, and Toast; import images from iTunes, iPhoto, iDVD and Finder; multiple layers, drawing tools and gradients for creating custom
designs; use more than 1300 clip art files via the DiscLabel Clip Art Browser and more. The update features various bug fixes. [Download - 12.6MB]
- fennel DVDManager 1.7.5 (53) (free) supports the latest version of Amazon Web Services to help you manage the workflow of your DVD library. This new version brings a clean, modernized new look to better match Leopard's theme, and includes support for the iTunes-like ranking mechanism. Compatible with Tiger and Leopard, it is available in 12 localizations, and features a software update mechanism so that you always use the latest version. [Download - [1.9 MB]
- License Keeper 1.4 ($20) stores and organizes important software license information, helping to prevent the loss of valuable software assets and making it accessible when needed most. Automatic serial number scanning and software information detection greatly reduces cumbersome data entry. Attachments keep related email and documents safely archived along with license and registration records. The new release will import registration data from spreadsheet compatible text files in the common Tab Delimited and Comma Separated formats. [Download - 1.8MB]
Office 2008 SP1 unveiled
The Microsoft Mac Business Unit on Tuesday announced the release of Microsoft Office 2008 Service Pack 1, a major update that provides increased stability, security, and performance enhancements, as well as an update for the former 2004 version. The update culminates several months worth of feedback from the Microsoft Error Reporting Protocol tool into optimization and improvements. Microsoft is posting the download on its website, but says it is also available through Microsoft Auto Update.
Macs better at Vista
Popular Mechanics says that Macs run Windows Vista better than PCs designed to run the operating system. The magazine published an analysis based on user feedback and performance benchmarks for similarly equipped machines, using a number of 'real world' tests to evaluate the machines. Testers were asked to set up the computers right out of the box and "explore the machines through everyday tasks such as Web surfing, document creation, uploading photos, downloading Adobe Acrobat files and playing music and movies through Media Center and Front Row." The magazine said that in both the laptop and desktop showdowns, Apple's computers were the winners. Results found that both Apple computers ran Vista faster than the PCs did.
HP 2133 to ship with XP
HP will offer the 2133 Mini-Note PC preconfigured with Windows XP in mid-May, something the company refers to as a "downgrade". Laptop Magazine observes that XP is more ideal for ultramobile PCs, given its lower power requirements, and better performance on lighter hardware. The revelation came after a chat with an HP Sales representative, who confirmed that XP would be an available feature in the future.
CalDigit has announced HDElement, a new compact 4 bay storage device that works in conjunction with the CalDigit RAID card offering full hardware RAID capabilities. Users can connect up to 3 HDElements to the CalDigit RAID card. The HDElement is also bootable. CalDigit's RAID Shield GUI allows users to manage drives, run performance checks and monitor system settings are a snap. In the event of any errors, alerts or changes to the RAID array can send an email notification. The CalDigit RAID card offers dedicated Intel processor, and 256MB of built-in cache memory. This gives true hardware RAID capabilities via PCI-e expansion slot.
Primate Labs has published new benchmarks for MacBooks and MacBook Pros released in early 2008. The models show marginal speed gains over their predecessors, in some cases exhibiting performance slower or roughly equal to previous models. The MacBook Pro Early 2008, for instance, shows a gain of just under three percent over the Mid 2007 MacBook Pro -- scores of 3323 and 3236 respectively. The Early 2008 model uses a Intel Core 2 Duo T9500 2.6 GHz, while the Mid 2007 model uses a Intel Core 2 Duo T7800 2.6 GHz (2 cores)
Quicktime, iTunes updates
Apple today released updates to QuickTime 7.4.5, iTunes 7.6.2, and Front Row 2.1.3, offering several performance enhancements, as well as a patch for a security hole found in QuickTime. The patch fixes an issue related to the SHA-1 checksum, which is related to protecting files with 160-bit encryption. iTunes 7.6.2 doesn't list specifically which issues are fixed, but more than likely resolves compatibility with the new QuickTime version. Front Row's update similarly guarantees functionality with iTunes 7.6.2.
PC MacBook Pro Review
Apple's new 15" MacBook Pro, based on Intel's latest Penryn processor, earned high marks from PC Magazine. In a recently published review, Editor Cisco Cheng took the new model for a test drive, benchmarking performance and feature enhancements. His conclusion - MacBook Pro is a winner. Cheng called it "one of the fastest laptops I've tested". That's high praise indeed, coming from a publication devoted to Windows PCs.
New MacBooks slower?
Primate Labs has taken a close look at the performance of Apple's lastest MacBook, and claims that the newest base model is slower than the previous generation. A performance comparison via Geekbench -- an application designed to test the speed of computers in various areas -- revealed higher scores for MacBooks released in early 2008 than the latest models offered by Apple. In overall performance the early 2008 2.4GHz Intel Core 2 Duo MacBook scored 3,135 against a baseline score of 1,000, which signifies the score a 1.6GHz Power Mac G5 would receive. Conversely, Apple's late 2008 2.2GHz MacBook scored 2,890 -- significantly less than the slightly older model.
Less than 24 hours after their introduction, Apple's new MacBook Pros based on Intel's Penryn Core 2 Duo architecture have been benchmarked using the venerable Geekbench utility. PrimateLabs tested the MacBook Pro (Early 2008) with an Intel Core 2 Duo T9300 @ 2.50GHz and MacBook Pro (Early 2008) with Intel Core 2 Duo T8300 @ 2.40GHz; comparing them to the MacBook Pro (Mid 2007) with an Intel Core 2 Duo T7800 @ 2.60GHz and MacBook Pro (Mid 2007) with an Intel Core 2 Duo T7700 @ 2.40GHz. The results show that the old 2.4GHz MacBook Pros are actually faster than the new 2.4GHz models -- a discrepancy explained by the smaller L2 cache on the new models. The 2008 2.5GHz MacBook Pro wasn't able to best the old 2.6GHz T7700-based model.
Crucial RAM for Mac Pro
Lexar Media today unveiled fully buffered Crucial 800MHz memory modules for the Mac Pro, available in 2GB, 4GB, and 8GB paired kits. The memory includes heat dissipation fins to balance the temperature, and feature a lifetime warranty. The new Mac Pro is capable of holding 32GB of memory, and Apple states that each increase to the system memory enhances the machine's performance due to the nature of the RAM pairings. Lexar did not unveil pricing, but said the modules are currently shipping.
Aperture 2.0 meeting
In brief: We have a review of the Boynq sabre iPod stereo speaker, MacForce will hold an Aperture 2.0 meeting, new MacBook Air, Mac Pro performance comparisons are available, and MediaCentral has expanded its entertainment channels ... We have posted a review of the Boynq sabre iPod stereo speaker
. The sabre is a lightweight iPod stereo speaker that weighs only 1.63 pounds, so it’s very portable, but does not have a battery compartment. It looks a bit like an unrolled tube of paper, with the dock sitting on the front flap. Six dock inserts accommodate all iPods with a Dock port. Four buttons also grace the front. The Power button lights up brightly when the unit is on. The other three buttons control the volume, treble, and bass. The little dot that marks the position of the knob is very difficult to see unless you’re very close to the unit.
iTunes Live, London
Apple is hosting a series of concerts for Londoners at AIR Studios starting February 21st, featuring artists such as KT Tunstall, José González, Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds, and many more. Rather than purchasing tickets, those interested in seeing any of the 25-plus artists must win the tickets through a free draw in order to attend the events. The event, called iTunes Live: London Sessions, will span over 11 nights, with each night featuring two to four performance artists.
Drive Genius 2 released
Prosoft Engineering today released Drive Genius 2, an update to the hard drive maintenance utility that improves speed as well as overall performance. Drive Genius 2 is built upon the same foundation as the original version, and adds support for Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard. The software allows users to maintain, manage, and optimize hard drives via disk de-fragmentation, directory repair, and repartition support. Drive Genius 2 is priced at $100, while upgrades for current owners are available at $60 each.
Safari speed boost
Apple's Safari web browser is about to get a large speed boost, if the current development version is giving an accurate depiction of what users can expect in the finished browser. Seth Weintraub, a writer for Computerworld's Apple blog, has been testing WebKit – Apple's developer version of the KHTML-based browser – and says that performance typically peaks at 2.5 times that of Safari, even in its currently unoptimized state.
MacBook Air benchmark
The MacBook Air has caused quite a stir with its slender packaging and minimalist features, but many have wondered what they are giving up in terms of performance by trading in their MacBooks and MacBook Pros for the ultraportable. Primate Labs recently benchmarked the miniature laptop, and found that performance was around 80- to 85-percent of that of a 2GHz MacBook. While the Air pulled ahead slightly in memory and stream performance, it was lacking in other areas.
New Mac Pro benchmarks
Benchmarks of Apple's new Mac Pro systems -- which began shipping earlier this year -- show how the latest systems stack up against each other as well as the company's older workstations. Overall performance ratings placed the Mac Pro 3.2GHz at the top of the charts in both 64-bit and 32-bit tests. Tests show that the performance difference between Apple's 2.8GHz and 3.2GHz Mac Pros is not as great as the difference between running 32-bit code and 64-bit code, according to the Primate Labs Blog.
Primate Labs tests Mac Pro
Primate Labs today released figures regarding performance of the new Mac Pro versus the old eight-core model. The old model is configured with the eight-core Xeon X5365, running at 3GHz, while the newer model features the Xeon W5462 running at 2.8GHz per core. Both machines were tested using Mac OS X 10.5.1, with the new Mac Pro using 2GB of RAM, versus the former that uses 1GB. Primate Labs says that the tests that GeekBench 2 uses to calculate RAM scores relies more on the speed of the memory rather than the quantity, so it was deemed a fair test.