Antec's new audio subsidiary soundscience introduces the rockus 2.1 speaker system

Don Lynn | Audio, Sound & Speakers | Aug 31, 2010 2:24 PM CDT

Antec is making a big move into the world of computer audio with the formation of their fully owned subsidiary, soundscience.™ The first product from soundscience will be an all new 3D 2.1 speaker system dubbed the soundscience rockus.

The rockus 3D system uses 3Dsst™, soundscience's proprietary 3D technology, to "actively analyze incoming stereo audio signals and intelligently place them into a 3D sound field." This allows a more realistic and immersive sound experience for movies, games, and video. There is even a dedicated music mode for superb stereo sound reproduction. The rockus will be officially introduced at the IFA Trade Show in Berlin, Germany on September 3rd and is planned to retail for $249.95 USD when it launches this fall.

Full Press Release courtesy of Antec:

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Canon shows off world's largest CMOS sensor

Shane McGlaun | | Aug 31, 2010 2:02 PM CDT

Canon is and easily recognizable name in the photographic world. The company has been making cameras since the digital camera was a dream in some geeks mind. Canon is big in the camera world, but what some might not know is that the company is also big in the research and development end of the camera market and actively develops new tech.

The latest new tech from Canon comes in the form of what it claims is the world's largest CMOS sensor. The gigantic sensor measures 202 x 205mm. The sensor is so huge that only one is made from each 300mm silicon wafer. The new sensor is 40 times larger than the next largest commercial sensor Canon produces today.

The benefit of that huge size is that the sensor can gather more light than other sensors on the market can today. That means that the sensor is able to take still shots with detail in low light conditions that other cameras would not be able to operate in. Canon also improved the circuitry to allow the sensor to record video at 60 fps with only 0.3 lux of illumination. That is about half the amount of light we see on the typical moonlit night.

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Google unveils Gmail Priority Inbox

Shane McGlaun | Software & Apps | Aug 31, 2010 1:04 PM CDT

I use Gmail for my personal email account and over the years I have ended up on mailing lists for stuff that isn't spam, but really isn't that important to me. What that means is that while Gmail does a decent job of filtering all the offers for pills to make my Johnson larger into the spam folder, I still end up wading through tons of mail to find the stuff that is important to me and I need to respond to.

Google has announced a new beta feature for Gmail users called Priority Inbox that will be rolled out to all Gmail users over the next week or so. The new feature looks at the messages you reply to and the people you email most and sets those as higher priority than others. When a message from one of those users comes in it will be automatically filtered to an important box for you to check first.

The user will also have some control over what ends up getting tagged as priority. If a massage lands in the priority box that isn't important the user can click a minus sign to show it's not important. At the same time messages that are important that don't end up in the priority box can be sent there with a click of a new plus button.

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Viewsonic Viewpad with Android gets official

Shane McGlaun | Mobile Devices | Aug 31, 2010 12:04 PM CDT

With the iPad blowing up the sales charts and taking a bunch of sales away from the netbook market it's no surprise that there are hoards of new tablets coming soon to a store near you. Many people are waiting for tablets with Android as the operating system to start to hit the market rather than buy the locked down iPad from Apple.

A new tablet from Viewsonic has surfaced called the Viewpad 7. The Viewpad 7 runs Android for its operating system, specifically Android 2.2. The 7 in the name refers to the screen size of 7-inches and the tablet has integrated GSM/3G connectivity. Other features include a front facing camera for video calls and a 3MP rear camera for taking pics.

The 3G connectivity also means that the user can use the tablet like a giant Android phone. That is actually a nice feature for the user who only wants to carry a single device and wants a screen larger than the 4-inch max on Android smartphones today. The Viewpad also has WiFi, A-GPS, and a microSD card slot supporting up to 32GB cards. The thing will be shown off at IFA 2010 this week and will sell or the equivalent of $541 over in the UK.

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PhotoFast iPADock is perfect for multiple Apple gadget homes

Shane McGlaun | Mobile Devices | Aug 31, 2010 10:02 AM CDT

I bet there are lots of people out there who have several Apple gadgets in their home. I know my house does with a pair of iPhones, an iPod touch, and an iPad. To keep from having Apple cables all over the place we tend to fight for the single charge plug that is in the office for all four of the gadgets. A new dock has surfaced from PhotoFast that will make it easy to charge up to four devices at once.

The new dock is called the iPADock and it has a design that allows you to change how many devices can be charged to meet your needs. The dock can charge four iPhones or iPods on its two rows. It can also charge two iPads or a single iPad and a pair of iPhones at the same time. The dock appears to use the stock charge cables for your gadgets.

The dock does not sync data to any of the devices, it is for charging only. In addition to charging the gadgets, the dock also has a place for the iPad Camera Connection Kit to be plugged in. A memory card reader is built-in as well. You can pre-order the iPADock now for about $80 plus shipping. The ship date is set at the end of September.

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XBox Live price increase coming November 1st

Don Lynn | Gaming | Aug 30, 2010 6:50 PM CDT

Fans of Xbox Live are soon going to have to dig a little deeper into their pockets to continue playing online. Starting November 1st, Xbox live is getting its first price increase in its eight year history.

In the United States, one-year Gold memberships are bumping up ten dollars to $59.99 USD. Monthly subscriptions will rise from $7.99 to $9.99, and three month subs will rise from $19.99 to $24.99. Microsoft is running a special deal right now for U.S. customers that will allow them to lock in a year for $39.99 to give them a little buffer before having to pay the higher price.

Other parts of the world will see prices raise as well: Monthly prices are raising in Canada, the U.K., and Mexico. Industry analyst Jesse Divnich said in a statement that "When originally launched in 2002, a Gold subscription cost the same as an AAA video game, $49.99. When taking into account for inflation ($50 in 2002 is roughly $60 in 2010) and the additional services available to Gold subscribers in 2010, such as ESPN, Facebook, Twitter, Netflix, Last.fm and Video Kinect, a $10 price increase still represents an incredible value to consumers."

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Grace Digital Audio debuts new outdoor speakers

Shane McGlaun | Audio, Sound & Speakers | Aug 30, 2010 11:02 AM CDT

I know many people who can't function without music to listen too. If they are outside grilling, playing with the kid's, or at the lake swimming they want music to listen too. If you are the sort that spends a lot of time outside and you want music to listen to while you are out there Grace Digital Audio has unveiled a new line of waterproof speakers that you can use outside without worrying about getting them wet.

The new line includes the Rock Speaker, which looks like a rock unsurprisingly. It has a 1x1" tweeter and a 1 x 4" full range speaker inside. The overall dimensions are 12.13" x 15.51" x 14.29". The speakers are powered by an AC adapter or an internal rechargeable battery and the whole thing is IPX7 approved. Wireless range is 150-feet and the battery is good for 7 hours.

The Schooner II has pair of waterproof speakers with carry handles and is IPX3 approved with a dock for your iPod. Wireless range is also 150-feet and it is good for 7-hours of battery life. The final new set of speakers is the Mini-bullets II with 1x3" full range speakers using double bass boost tech. The speakers can run from a wall outlet of with six AA batteries and are IPX3 approved. The wireless range is the same 150-feet. The Rock Speaker sells for $149.99, Schooner II is $129.99, and the Mini-Bullets II are $99.99.

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Aussies can benefit from Google Voice's free calls to U.S. and Canada, too

Steve Dougherty | Networking | Aug 30, 2010 5:54 AM CDT

Google introduced a new call-out service dubbed "Google Voice" last week and noted that the service is only available for U.S. residents at this time.

However, there is a little 'tweak' that can be made which allows us Australians to make use of it, too. And many of you will want to, especially if you often make calls to the U.S. or Canada, as Google is allowing you to do this for free until the end of this year. You can also use Google Voice to call other international numbers for as low as $0.02c USD per minute.

First of all, you need to sign into GMail. From there make sure your Language setting is adjusted to "English (US)". Once you've done that you should see a "Call Phone" option under your name in the Chat section on the left-hand side of the screen. When you click on that you should be prompted to download and install a browser plug-in after which you should be all suited up for calling.

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Telstra ramps up Next G business offerings with 'unlimited' plan

Steve Dougherty | Mobile Devices | Aug 30, 2010 4:14 AM CDT

Telstra has recently shown to be much more aggressive with its range of broadband internet plans for consumers including some more friendly terms on its wireless Next G based services. Now it's shifted focus onto its business customers and has something on offer many businesses will be interested in; unlimited Next G plans.

The plan comes as an option with Telstra's newly released $299 Ultimate USB modem which is able to take full advantage of the company's dual channel HSPA+ upgrade that gives up to 42Mbit/s (theoretical) download speeds. This network has been installed in all major capitals as well as a number of regional centres, with Telstra estimating that 50% of Australia's population has access to said upgraded network.

As for the unlimited plan, of course there are a few conditions attached. For a start, there is a fair use restriction in place that sits at around 120GB, give or take. Secondly, the unlimited plan is only available to government and enterprise fleet buyers who purchase the aforementioned Ultimate USB modems. As to how many modem purchases need to be made to quality for said plan, Telstra wouldn't give an exact figure, but indicated it to be 'in the hundreds'.

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iiNet's FetchTV trial quite a success

Steve Dougherty | TV, Movies & Home Theatre | Aug 30, 2010 3:44 AM CDT

iiNet recently trialed an internet-delivered pay-TV service called "FetchTV" of which 100 households participated in and gave their feedback at the end of the trial.

With 95 out of the 100 households signing up as paying customers once the trial period finished, it's clear the service holds a lot of promise and iiNet are excited to put it into full swing as an option for its broadband customers. This makes iiNet the first ISP to confirm that it will be on-selling FetechTV to its customers.

FetchTV excels in delivering a good range of films and foreign-language channels for many non-English speaking homes; at this stage they are the two exepected key selling points of the service. Sport coverage on the other hand is quite lacking at the moment, though FetchTV has announced just last week that it has done a deal with Fox Sports News to include it as part of its basic subscriber package as of next month.

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