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If you’ve ever wanted more of an inside look at the world of Dell, they’ve got a new corporate blog called one2one where they are posting product highlights and trying to address issues which are important to customers. While it remains to be seen if this corporate blog will be a true conversation with customers or just another PR tool, Dell’s posted commitments seem to indicate an honest attempt to establish a new avenue of listening to their user base.

Read More | BuzzMachine

Gallery: Dell Goes Blogging


Both XM and Sirius have posted their latest subscriber growth numbers for the world to see and the results show that while XM still has a pretty commanding lead in overall numbers, Sirius actually far surpassed its rival in new subscribers added for the second quarter. XM specifically gained “more than more than 398,000 new net subscribers during the second quarter of 2006 for a total of more than 6.89 million subscribers” while Sirius “added 600,460 net subscribers during the second quarter of 2006” which has them ending the quarter with “with 4,678,207 subscribers”. This is “158% higher than second quarter 2005 ending subscribers of 1,814,626”. Not bad growth on Sirius’ part at all.

Read More | Sirius Press Release via Cnet Alpha Blog

Gallery: Sirius to XM: We’re Gaining…

If you own a Lexar JumpDrive FireFly or 1GB Secure II, you’ll want to take careful note of this story. Lexar, in conjunction with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, has issued a voluntary recall of around 66,000 of these drives because of a potential burn hazard. No injuries have thus far been reported of the drives. Consumers with the impacted models as described this recall notice Web page are advised to stop using the drives and contact Lexar to receive a free replacement.

Read More | Lexar/USCPSC Product Recall Page

Gallery: Lexar Recalls JumpDrives Over Burn Hazard

Plextor PX-B900ABefore there was Benq, before there was Lite-On, there was Texel.  Ummm, who?  Texel America was the name Plextor went by before they changed in back in the mid 90’s.  They’ve been manufacturing and selling optical drives since 1990, and I even remember owning one of their first 1x CD-ROM drives.  Yes, I realize that dates me somewhat.  Anyway, Plextor is introducing their first Blu-ray drive, the PX-B900A.  The PX-B900A is an internal ATAPI drive that features dual-layer burning and supports writing and re-writing at 2x speeds.  A large 8MB buffer ensures a constant flow of data, and support for a wide range of formats offers up great versatility.

The PX-B900A not only uses the latest Blu-ray technology, but is also a highly versatile dual-layer DVD drive that combines multiple formats – DVD+/-R/RW and RAM - into one.  It can accept both 12cm and 8cm discs (in the horizontal position) and has a large 8MB buffer to ensure there is no data interruption. Write speeds: 2x BD-R/BD-RE, 8x DVD+R/-R/+RW, 6x DVD-RW, 4x DVD+R/-R DL, 5x DVD-RAM, 24x CD-R and 16x CD-RW.

One thing that has changed over the years is the manufacturer of Plextor’s drives.  Once upon a time, Plextor ruled the roost so to speak and their drives were arguably second to none, and priced to match.  As time has progressed, Plextor seems slower off the line in regards to innovation, and they’ve developed a habit of simply rebadging another manufacturer’s drive as their own.  Rebadging is a common practice in the industry, but it does detract from the main reason to own a Plextor drive - because it was a Plextor and you knew you were getting a cutting edge piece of hardware with few peers.  For what it’s worth, rumor has it that the PX-B900A is a rebadged Panasonic.

The PX-B900A will be availble in the September/October 2006 time frame, for an as of yet undisclosed amount.

Read More | Plextor via CD Freaks

Gallery: Plextor Introduces Their First Blu-ray Drive

Microsoft“When it rains it pours” goes the old saying, and with Adobe snagging Pixmantec and now Microsoft grabbing iView, digital workflow companies seem to be vanishing left and right.  iView Multimedia is the maker of MediaPro, an image cataloging application that is quite popular.  One difference between this acquisition and that of Adobe/Pixmantec, is that Microsoft will keep the product line intact and continue to sell both the Mac and Windows versions.

It is important for current iView customers and those considering buying iView products to know the following:

  * All iView products will continue to be sold on the iView web site and through many of iView’s existing partners/channel. Existing customers and new customers who buy iView products will continue to receive full support, per their iView software agreements.
  * Macintosh versions of iView products will continue to be available and fully supported.
  * Users of iView products will be offered promotional upgrade pricing for any future products that Microsoft releases that are based on the existing iView products.
  * Users of earlier versions of iView MediaPro (pre v3.x) and iView Media will continue to qualify for upgrades to the version 3.x product line, and can upgrade now and in the future to the latest version.

Therefore, customers can continue to use and buy iView products knowing that they will be fully supported as Microsoft evolves the iView product line in the future, for both Windows and Macintosh platforms.

Read More | iView Multimedia via Rob Galbraith DPI

Gallery: Microsoft Acquires iView

Adobe PixmantecPixmantec RawShooter was a great RAW workflow and processing application that was easy to use and produced superb results.  Why the need for past tense?  Well, because Adobe has acquired Pixmantec’s technology assets, and will be incorporating the technology into Lightroom and anywhere a RAW application process is required.  Lightroom is Adobe’s RAW application that is currently in beta for the Mac platform.  A Windows version of Lightroom is planned but there is no word on when it will be available.

“With high quality digital cameras now within reach of every photographer, customers are gravitating to raw file formats that allow them to get more control over final results,” said John Loiacono, senior vice president of Creative Solutions at Adobe. “By combining Pixmantec’s raw processing technology and expertise with our own, we’re continuing to deliver on the promise that even your existing raw files can be processed with increasing quality as our software technology evolves.”

Pixmantec is a privately held company headquartered in Copenhagen, Denmark and currently ships the RawShooter® line of digital photography software products. Adobe plans to integrate Pixmantec raw processing technologies into Lightroom™ and wherever customers will be working with raw files.

In preparation for this integration, the Pixmantec RawShooter Premium product is being discontinued, though the free RawShooter Essentials product will continue to be available until the Lightroom public beta program is completed. Existing Pixmantec customers will continue to be supported by Adobe and will be provided with an upgrade path to the Adobe digital imaging product family.

So, if you want to snag a free copy of RawShooter Essentials, or an upgrade to RawShooter Premium, then there’s no time like the present as they won’t be around forever.  Get them here.

Read More | Adobe via Rob Galbraith DPI

Gallery: Adobe Acquires Pixmantec

Benjamin RudolphParallels Desktop has quickly replaced VirtualPC in the eyes of many a Mac user, as the product works (and works well) on Macs running on Intel chips. Throughout it’s beta period, the Parallels Desktop for Mac software grew due to the dedicated help from the Mac community. The product is now out of beta and ready for purchase. We caught up with Parallels’ Benjamin Rudolph to talk about how to they to where they are today:

Ben, thank you for taking some time to talk with us today. Tell us a little about what you do at Parallels.
Good to be here!  I’ll keep this short since I’m the least interesting thing we’ll be talking about today….I lead our marketing and communications efforts here at Parallels, including PR, product marketing, and partner relationships.

How soon after the announcement of the Intel Macs did development of Parallels Desktop for Mac begin?
We started thinking about a Windows-on-Mac solution when Apple made the announcement that they were moving to Intel chips.  Since our virtualization engine was already compatible with the x86 chipset, it was simply a matter of porting the code over to the Mac, refining the API, and getting devices working.

Click to continue reading Gear Live Interview: Benjamin Rudolph, Parallels

Gallery: Gear Live Interview: Benjamin Rudolph, Parallels

Dell Latitude D420

Today Dell introduced the Latitude D420, designed to succeed their Latitude X1 as the company’s premier ultraportable notebook.  While slightly heaver and larger than the X1, the D420 offers more features and options like a D-family docking port, optional integrated broadband (HSDPA or EVDO), an optional biometric fingerprint reader, greater memory capacity (1.5GB), a PC Card slot (Type I and II), and dual-core processors which will be available later this summer.

Dell claims over seven hours of battery life on the D420, but be aware that their testing was performed not with the base 4-cell battery, but the optional 9-cell battery which adds almost one-half pound to the total weight.  Still, a 3.5 pound notebook that can operate for around seven hours is nothing to be ashamed of.

The most notable absence on the D420 is the lack of an optical drive, a trait shared with the X1.  However, as if to reward us for good behavior, the new model comes with a much needed PC Card slot which was sorely lacking on the X1.

The Latitude D420 is available now and pricing starts at $1,149 USD.

Latitude D420 Specifications



Intel Core Solo U1300 Processor (1.06GHz)
One Memory slot offering up to 1.5GB
Memory Bandwidth:
Intel Graphics Media Accelerator 950 (Up to 224MB shared memory)
UltraSharp WXGA (1280 x 800 resolution)

Additional specifications after the jump.

Click to continue reading Dell Latitude D420 Offers 7 Hours Of Battery Life

Read More | Dell

Gallery: Dell Latitude D420 Offers 7 Hours Of Battery Life

Microsoft LifeCam VX-3000 and VX-6000

It’s no secret that Microsoft wants to integrate PC and Xbox 360 users together when Vista debuts later this

millenium century

decade.  One step towards that goal is the integration of instant messaging between the two disparate platforms, and with the release of the Xbox 360 Live Vision Camera a short time ago, Microsoft is partway there.  Keeping the momentum going, Microsoft is now releasing two new webcams aimed at the PC market, the VX-3000 and VX-6000 LifeCams.

The first two available webcams, the Microsoft LifeCam VX-6000 and Microsoft LifeCam VX-3000, bring a new dimension to Windows Live Messenger and feature exclusive industry firsts that streamline the webcam experience: • Windows Live Call Button. Located on the top of each LifeCam, the Windows Live Call Button makes placing a video call a breeze by eliminating the usual multiple steps. Just one touch brings up the Buddy Picker, a tool that shows users only current online buddies. They simply select their contact’s name and they are on their way to making a video call. • LifeCam Dashboard. Built right into the Windows Live Messenger window for easy access during video calling, the LifeCam Dashboard provides simple access to the controls people need most, including pan, tilt and zoom. Now users’ attention stays where it should be — on their video conversation. • One-touch blogging. Windows Live Spaces is one of the fastest-growing blog communities in the world, with more than 50 million individual Spaces. Now, users can post High Definition LifeCam pictures directly to their Windows Live Space blog with one click from within the LifeCam window. The new Microsoft LifeCam VX-6000 is a top-of-the-line wired webcam providing the highest quality still photography on the market (5.0 megapixels interpolated), High Definition video (1.3 megapixels)3 and 3x digital zoom. A 71-degree wide-angle lens allows enough room for up to three people to join in the conversation. The Microsoft LifeCam VX-3000 offers High Definition still photography (1.3 megapixels interpolated) and brilliant video (640x480 pixels). Both LifeCams feature a built-in acoustic noise-canceling microphone to ensure crystal-clear audio performance without adding clutter from extra headsets or external microphones. In addition, both new LifeCams come with fun Video Effects, such as falling snowflakes and twinkling stars, to personalize and enhance the background of video conversations. The LifeCams also have a Universal Attachment Base for easy and secure attachment to virtually any size monitor.

The webcams are available now with USD list prices of $99.95 (VX-6000) and $49.95 (VX-3000).

Read More | Microsoft via bit-tech

Gallery: Microsoft Introduces Two New Webcams

AMD X2In an effort to simplify their product lineup, and simultaneously bolster the sales of their FX series processors, AMD will spend the next few months reducing their product lineup.  On the chopping block are all processors with 1MB L2 cache, with the exception of their FX models.  This product subset includes the Athlon 64 X2 4000+, 4400+ and 4800+ processors.

This will allow AMD to re-focus 1MB L2 parts back into their flagship FX line of processors. If you sit down and really look at the benchmarks, 1MB L2 cache parts basically come in equal to a comparable parts with 512KB L2 cache but with a 200MHz core frequency bump.

If you’ve been hankering for an AMD processor with copious amounts of L2 cache, and don’t feel the desire to sell body parts to raise money for an Athlon 64 FX, then now is the time to act.  It’s unlikely the aforementioned processors will stay in the channel for too long before being snapped up.

Read More | [H]ard|OCP

Gallery: AMD Reduces Their Product Offerings