During the kickoff Microsoft keynote that marks the start CES, Steve Ballmer announced that Windows 7 beta is available starting today for TechNet and MSDN subscribers. Nothing too exciting there for the average Joe, we know, which is why we were excited when he also mentioned that the beta would also be publicly available beginning this Friday, January 9th. You’ll be able to grab either the 32-bit version, or the 64-bit version of the Windows 7 beta software if you are one of the first 2.5 million people to hit the download button. You just need to head to the Windows 7 product page to do so. Just be aware that the beta software will expire on August 1, 2009.
As part of the release, Microsoft was also happy to note that Windows Live Essentials, “a free suite of communications and sharing applications that make it easy for people to communicate, share and keep their online lives in sync and in one place with one login,” is now also available on a worldwide scale.
We are big fans of BUG Labs, so we are naturally excited about the news this morning coming out of CES that they are set to release a total of five new BUGmodules. If you are unfamiliar with what BUG Labs and the BUGbase is all about, check out our video from last year’s CES after the break. Anyhow, here’s a list of the new BUGmodules:
- BUG3g: Gives you phone and/or data connectivity
- BUGwifi: Give you 802.11b/g Wi-Fi as well as Bluetooth 2.0 + EDR capabilities
- BUGbee: An 802.15.4 antenna to be used with ZigBee home automation setups
- BUGsound: Give you a 20mm speaker jack, four 3.5mm jacks, and an omnidirectional microphone
- BUGprojector: An integrated DLP Pico projector which outputs at 480x320 resolution
None of these have been priced, or have even been stamped with a specific release date, but you can expect them to ship before the end of the quarter.
Read More | PR Newswire
Earlier today during the MacWorld 2009 keynote, Apple announced that the iTunes Store was on the way to completely dropping DRM. As of today, 8,000,000 of the 10,000,000 tracks are now available as DRM-free iTunes Plus tracks, and that even includes music videos. We figured we’d give you a quick look at how you go about upgrading your library of purchased content.
So the first thing you want to do is go to the iTunes Store, and look on the right-hand side. You’ll see “iTunes Plus” as one of the links, with a number next to it. That number represents the number of pieces of content that you have available that can be upgraded. Click on that.
This morning during his MacWorld 2009 keynote, Phil Schiller announced the new 17” MacBook Pro. The notebook is the world’s thinnest 17-inch notebook, at just 0.98 inches thin, and weighs in at 6.6 pounds. It’s got the same LED backlit display with a 1920x1200 resolution, 700:1 contrast ratio, and 60% greater color gamut. It’s got the glossy screen, but on this model there is a $50 anti-glare option that can get built-in behind the glass. As far as connections go, it’s got 3 USB ports, FireWire 800, Mini DisplayPort, ExpressCard, gigabit ethernet, and digital audio in/out. The notebooks rock the Intel Core 2 Duo 2.93 GHz processor with 6MB L2 Cache, and support up to 8GB of memory. It’s got the two integrated NVIDIA 9400M and 9600M graphics cards, and ships with a 320 GB hard drive, which can be upgraded to a 256 GB SSD. The big news here, though, is the battery life. Sine the battery is non-removeable, Apple was able to cram a bunch of cells into this thing, with the end result being 8 hours of battery life on a single charge using integrated graphics, or 7 hours using the discrete graphics chip.
The new 17” MacBook Pro comes in one configuration and sells for $2799, so no price increase over the last model. That gets you 4GB 1066 MHz DDR3 RAM, a 2.66 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo, and a 320 GB hard drive, and it ships in late January.
During his first (and only) MacWorld keynote speech, Phil Schiller announced the latest update to the iLife suite of software, iLife ‘09. Let’s take each app, one by one, and look at the changes and additions:
iPhoto ‘09: New to iPhoto is Faces. Faces uses facial recognition to organize and tag photos of people. iPhoto will find a face in a photo, and you tell it who it is. It will then find other photos that it thinks are of the same person. Easy way to grab snapshots that feature the same person. Another new organization feature is called Places. This uses the geotagging feature available on a lot of modern cameraa, and puts pins on a map showing the different places that the images were taken. If you have photos that aren’t geotagged, you simply tell iPhoto where the image (or event images) was taken, and it fills in the rest. The map feature is based on Google Maps, so you can zoom in on a location, look at satellite or street view, etc.
Apple has also added in built-in support for Facebook and Flickr to iPhoto - that means no more fumbling around with clunky plugins to get your pictures out of iPhoto and onto those services. A very welcome addition. Facebook users can add the names of people in their images, and iPhoto will retain that info as well (presumedly for the Faces feature.)
iPhoto also gets new slideshow themes. You choose a theme and photos, and iPhoto puts it all together. It uses the Faces to find the faces in images so that those are centered and zoomed. You can save slideshows to iTunes, and they can be synced to an iPhone or iPod touch. Something new for the Books too, you can now automatically get maps included, with pins that show your location. Great for making travel books.
iMovie ‘09: Apple has admitted that, since it was new, iMovie ‘08 didn’t have all the features that older customer wanted. This year, they aim to change that. iMovie ‘09 gets a new Precision Editor, Advanced drag & drop (that give you context-sensitive menus,) dynamic themes, and even animated travel maps. So, again, you can use your location data to insert 2D and 3D maps of those locations into your movies.
GarageBand ‘09: GarageBand ‘09 is being updated with a new feature called “Learn to Play,” which brings up an instructor which plays video lessons. If that’s not enough to get you excited, there are even Artist Lessons. You get people like John Fogerty, Colbie Caillat, Sting, Sarah McLachlan, Norah Jones, and Patrick Stump, who will teach you how to play instruments like the guitar or piano.
iLife ‘09 also includes updated versions of iWeb and iDVD, and ships free on new Macs. You can purchase an upgrade for $79, or buy a family pack (good on up to five Macs) for $99, and it will be available in “late January.”
For those wondering, Apple has also released a new version of iWork - iWork ‘09.
SlingPlayer Mobile for iPhone is set to make its debut this week during MacWorld 2009. If you own a Slingbox and an iPhone, then you’ve been waiting for this moment for quite some time. Sling Media will be showing off the current build of their SlingPlayer Mobile iPhone app, which they plan on submitting to Apple for App Store approval by the end of the first quarter of the year. This is gonna be one to watch. We’ll try to get more screenshots, or even video of the app, from Sling in the meantime.
Steve Jobs has addressed his health, in detail, for the first time in a public venue this morning with a letter published by Apple. Since it was recognized that Steve had seemed to be losing a bunch of weight throughout 2008, many thought that either his cancer had come back, or that some other very serious affliction had caught up with him. Adding fuel to the fire was the news that Steve Jobs wouldn’t be delivering the MacWorld 2009 keynote address, with Phil Schiller filling in instead. Many figured it meant Steve was preparing for an exit from his position as Apple CEO. In order to quell everyone’s fears, Steve posted a note saying that he has been suffering from a hormone imbalance that had been “robbing” his body of the proteins it needs to remain healthy, and has recently begun treatment and is on the road to recovery. He also says that Phil is giving the MacWorld keynote so that he can spend the holiday season with his family, which is the first time in a decade that he is able to enjoy that pleasure.
We’ve posted the note, in its entirety, after the break. Give it a read - hopefully now we can finally put this Steve Jobs health issue to bed.
The end of another year is upon us, and that means that our humble little tech video show, Bleeding Edge TV, is turning 3 years old. We figured we’d highlight the ten episodes that you guys watched most over the past year in this recap. We find it hilarious that the most watched video just happened to be the one where one of us willingly got tasered during CES, but hey, why should we be surprised? Aside from that, video games seemed to be popular, as well as some straight up hardware. Hit the jump for the full list.
Oh, and while you’re at it, go ahead and check out the 10 most popular videos from 2007 as well.
Bad Guy of the Year: I see three choices here. Libra seems to be running the bad guys in the Crisis series, but we don’t know enough about him yet to make an informed decision. Darkseid seems to be the overriding influence of the bad guys, but he may or may not be dead. Every time I try to get an intelligent answer out of DC they only have one answer: It’s Grant Morrison. I guess that means that all will be clear in 2009. I’m holding my breath. So, in my humble opinion, Norman Osborn is the standout Bad Guy of the Year. From running the Thunderbolts to running everything, he provided a welcome surprise to the end of Secret Invasion. And he’s crazy, too.
Good Guy of the Year: Even though I didn’t like how they got there, I thought Spider-Man had a pretty good year story-wise. Now that Marvel has clarified things, a little, in that the only change was that Peter and MJ never got married so that all continuity remains the same things makes more sense. I thought Thor had a great year - kicking Tony Starks’ butt, having Asgard floating over Oklahoma, and beating the crap out of the Skrulls was neat. But old friend Bucky Barnes, The Winter Soldier, is the Good Guy of the Year. A beautifully drawn and written unending novel has the former Bucky picking up the reins of Captain America. Why soon we won’t even miss Mr. Rogers and as soon as that happens…
Good Girl of the Year: Supergirl is happy/sad, rebellious/obedient, heroic/whiny. In another era I would make a time of the month joke, but who knows about Kryptonian cycles anyway? We’d all like to know what MJ whispered in Mephisto’s ear before stupid Peter took the deal, but we have to wait. By default I make it She-Hulk who fights earth villains, Skrulls, and still finds time to sleep around all over the Marvel universe. And has a Skrull girlfriend too.
Bad Girl of the Year: The Skrull Queen was pretty bad, but then let herself get killed by Norman Osborn. Granny Goodness is not exactly a girl. So I go with Mary Marvel. Of course by next year she’ll be back to the Light Side but I love her in her new black costume. All she needs is a whip and mask and… I think I’ll stop right here before I really do get into trouble with my editor.
If there is one complaint we have about the iPhone 3G, it’s that with our heavy usage, we get fairly poor battery life. However, thanks to the new Mophie Juice Pack for iPhone 3G, I no longer am left needing a charge after 8-10 hours of use. If you are someone who:
- Talks a lot on the phone
- Uses the iPod feature a lot
- Plays a lot of games from the App Store
- Uses push email, contacts, and/or calendars with Exchange, MobileMe, or both
- Any combination of the above
Then the Mophie Juice Pack may be exactly what you need, if you are finding yourself in a similar situation. We give you a look at the device, which doubles the battery life of your iPhone 3G, in this episode.
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