Firmware updates for Nikon D80 and D40

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Jan 312007
 

Nikon D40

Nikon has released a firmware update for the recently released D80 and D40 digital SLR cameras.

Firmware 1.0.1 for the D80 fixes a number of issues including the following:

  • The addition of the electronic analog exposure display in the viewfinder when the brightness of the subject exceeds the range that can be controlled by the camera (for the Shutter-priority auto (S) or Aperture-priority auto (A) exposure modes with the built-in flash up and Programmed auto (P) exposure modes)
  • When attempting to edit images, which had already been edited using a computer, with options in the D80’s retouch menu, the camera sometimes froze. Therefore, images that have been edited using a computer can no longer be edited using the camera.

Firmware 1.1 for the D40 adds certification for Windows Vista, adds support for the new USB Media Transfer Protocol (MTP), fixes an issue that caused the ISO auto feature to be disabled in certain scenarios, and fixes errors in the menus.

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Michael Dell back as Dell CEO

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Jan 312007
 

Dell is in the news again today!

Dell Inc. announced today that Michael Dell will assume the duties of Chief Executive Officer, effective immediately. Mr. Dell, who will retain his duties as Chairman of the Board, will replace Kevin Rollins. The latter resigned from both his position as CEO and from the Board of Directors.

Dell has struggled recently and it appears that the latest quarter is no different. In the same press release, Dell indicated that it expected that fourth quarter Fiscal Year 2007 results to be below the average of First Call Estimates for both revenue and earnings per share.

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Mobile gaming device from Dell?

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Jan 312007
 

Brighthand is reporting that Dell is considering a mobile device devoted to gaming. In a recent interview with UK publication PC Plus, Abizar Vakharia, an executive in Dell’s gaming division is quoted as saying “that’s definitely one that’s on the radar screen”.

Further conjecture suggests that the device could either be a UMPC or based on Windows Mobile. If so, we should be able to do more with these devices than just play games.

Unfortunately, aside from that quote, there’s not much else to go on at this time.

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More Windows Mobile flaws discovered?

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Jan 312007
 

Trend Micro is reporting that it has found two new vulnerabilities in applications that come with Windows Mobile (both Windows Mobile 5.0 and Windows Mobile 2003/2003SE).

The first vulnerability affects Pictures and Videos which will hang when trying to process malformed JPEG files. This can leave the device vulnerable to denial of service (DoS) attacks.

The second flaw affects Pocket Internet Explorer and can cause a stack overflow, making the device unstable and requiring a reset.

Trend Micro has notified Microsoft of both flaws but patches are no patches have been released so far.

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A printer that does not need ink from Zinc

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Jan 312007
 

A small start-up company called Zinc has unveiled a printer that does not use ink. Instead, the printer uses heat to activate a polymer coating on special paper. Each sheet of paper has 3 crystalline layers (yellow, magenta and blue). Each is activated by different temperatures and heat application times. When the right combination is applied, the crystals turn from clear into the appropriate colour.

Without the need for an ink cartridge, the printer can be much smaller than traditional printers. The biggest limitation would be the size of the prints you want to make.

Still months away from release, Zinc’s first printers are expected to cost between $100 USD and $200 USD with paper cost about $20 USD for 100 sheets.

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Seagate unveils D.A.V.E. wireless hard drives

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Jan 302007
 

Seagate unveiled the Digital Audio Video Experience(also known as D.A.V.E), a small wireless drive that will work with mobile phones, PCs and other wireless-enabled devices using Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and USB. Essentially, D.A.V.E. can connect with devices within 9 metre range and act as an additional hard drive. It measures 61 x 89 x 12 mm (3.5 x 4.7 x .47 inches), roughly the size of a credit card but about one centimeter thick. It weighs 70 grams (2.5 ounces). The drive is powered by a rechargeable lithium ion battery that promises to deliver up to 10 hours of media-streaming performance and up to 14 days of standby power.

D.A.V.E. has its own software API to let other software developers and hardware manufacturers come up with their own uses for it.

10 and 20GB models are expected in the second quarter with prices starting at about $150 USD.

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Sony settles with FTC over rootkit charges

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Jan 302007
 

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced today that Sony has agreed to give customers up to $150 USD for damages caused to their computers by the rootkit it put on some CDs in an effort to combat piracy. Some 12 million CDs were shipped with the rootkit in 2005. Sony ended up with a huge scandal on its hands and customer computers suddenly were vulnerable to trojan horses.

As part of the settlement Sony must also allow customers to exchange affected CDs until the end of June, they must clearly label CDs with any limitations going forward, they cannot collect personal information for marketing and cannot install software without customer approval. It will also continue to provide patches and uninstall tools for another two years.

Sony has already paid out more than $4 million USD in settlements with some 40 US states.

Personally, I think that Sony got off lightly.

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Apple gives iPod shuffle some colour (Updated)

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Jan 302007
 

Apple

This morning, Apple unveiled four new colours for its iPod shuffle. It is now available in pink, green, blue, orange as well as the original silver. Capacity remains unchanged at 1GB (enough for up to 240 songs). All shuffle shades are available for $79 USD ($89 CAD).

Apple also released the 802.11n Enabler for those Macs that support it. This software download is available for $1.99 USD ($2.49 CAD). Or you can buy the Airport Extreme base station which includes the software.

Lastly, my apologies – I thought that the Mac Pro line had been updated.

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Weekday fun: Expansion pack for The Quest

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Jan 302007
 

The Quest

Redshift has released an expansion pack for its RPG game The Quest. Called The Quest Islands, you play the role of a Kingdom Agent sent to discover the source of a mysterious illness that has devastated the icy island of Thule and now threatens fiery Eldfell. Designed for level 14-15 characters, these latest adventures feature new monsters, new armor and weapons including a crossbow, new quests and a deadly disease.

To go with the expansion pack, Redshift has released an update to the main game. Version 1.03 is primarily a bug fix release but it does add a new battery icon in the top right corner when battery dips below 40 percent. This latest version also uses less program memory. It is required for the expansion pack.

The Quest is available for $19.95 USD from our affiliate Clickgamer. The Quest Expansion Pack is also available for $9.95 USD from our affiliate Clickgamer. Trial versions are available.

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Over one billion Mobile Phones Shipped In 2006

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Jan 302007
 

Over a billion mobile phones were shipped in 2006. Total shipments grew 22.5 percent over the year before to reach 1.019 billion handsets. Driving this demand were emerging markets such as Asia and the Pacific region, Central and Eastern Europe, the Middle East, Africa, and Latin America. In fact, demand in these markets was higher than in mature markets such as Japan, North America, and Western Europe.

The top five vendors were Nokia (347.5 million units), Motorola (217.4 million units), Samsung (118 million units), Sony Ericsson (74.8 million units), and LG Electronics (64.4 million units).

Where is the growth coming from? China now has 461.1 million mobile phone subscribers, having added almost 68 million in 2006. India added 74 million subscribers to end the year with 149.5 million subscribers.

Source: Mobility Site

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Windows Vista and Office 2007 launched

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Jan 292007
 

Unless you are a hermit just coming out of reclusion, chances are that you have heard of Microsoft Vista (5 years in the making). Microsoft finally unveiled the consumer version of its latest OS today in New York. Called the most significant product launch in Microsoft’s history, Vista promises a desktop that is both easier to use and more visually exciting, simple and intuitive tools to create and share digital content of all kinds as well as experience all kinds of entertainment.

Microsoft also unveiled the latest version of Microsoft Office.

As of tomorrow, you will be able to walk into one of 39,000 stores and walk away with a new computer with Vista preloaded (like the HP Touchsmart PC and consumer tablet).

Plans at Gadgetorama headquarters is to give our main system a bit more RAM, a second hard drive and possibly a new video card before we begin our Vista adventure.

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Windows Mobile 6 ushers in new naming convention

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Jan 292007
 

With the release of Windows Mobile 6, Microsoft will introduce a new naming convention to distinguish between the different versions. The new versions will be called Classic, Standard and Professional.

  • Windows Mobile 6.0 Classic will be for traditional PDAs with no phone capabilities. Today’s equivalent is Windows Mobile 5.0 Pocket PC Edition.
  • Windows Mobile 6.0 Standard will be for Smartphones (ie, no touch screen). It succeeds WM5.0 Smartphone Edition.
  • Lastly, the successor to Windows Mobile 5.0 Pocket PC Phone Edition will be Windows Mobile 6.0 Professional.

So we’re still stuck with 3 different versions of Windows Mobile but the names should be a little less confusing.

Source: Dutch web site Pocketinfo

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Turn your Smartphone into a universal remote control

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Jan 292007
 

VITO Remote for Smartphone

VITO Technology has released VITO Remote for Smartphone, an application that will let you use your Windows Mobile Smartphone as a universal remote.

VITO Remote for Smartphone allows you to teach you Smartphone all the commands from the original remote controls for your home and office electronics. Simply place Smartphone and an original remote control with their infrared ports facing each other, press a button on Smartphone and then on an original remote control: your Smartphone has learned it! This way you can easily stow all the necessary commands to your Smartphone and control any of your home and office equipment.

VITO Remote for Smartphone allows you to create different profiles for all your devices and buttons can comes with multiple screen layers to ensure that you have all the buttons of the original remote.

VITO Remote for Smartphone is available for $15.95 USD from our affiliates ClickApps and Pocketgear. A trial version is also available.

Spb Software House updates Spb Diary and Spb Backup

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Jan 292007
 

Last week, Spb Software house released point updates for both Spb Diary and Spb Backup.

Among the changes you will find in Spb Diary 2.2.1 are a number of bug fixes (Contacts tab loading issue, closing context menus with the left button in WM2003, integration with Agenda One, support for accented characters, and more) as well as some enhancements such as the ability to sort by due date in reverse order when grouping by completion status and the option to open a contact (instead of editing) from the pop-up.

Spb Backup 1.5.5 adds features like a stand-alone restorer for large archive files, PIN auto entry on scheduled backups for automatic device reboot and a number of bug fixes, including a fix for improperly restored alarms.

Spb Diary 2.2.1 is available for $19.95 USD from our affiliates ClickApps and Pocketgear. A trial version is also available.

Spb Backup 1.5.5 is available for $19.95 USD from our affiliates ClickApps and Pocketgear. A trial version is also available.