News Roundup: Google Makes Map Mashups Easy, Apple Product News, and More

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News Roundup: Google Makes Map Mashups Easy, Apple Product News, and More

Google: "Go ahead, make My Maps." As we learned from Lazy Sunday, Google Maps is the best (true that, perhaps even double true). And with the new My Maps tools, Google's made it easy to make your own customized mashups (in this case, online maps with more information layered on top of them) without any programming or technical expertise. CNET's Elinor Mills took the new service for a test drive (see video here and images here) and found the drag-and-drop interface accessible and intuitive. Score another one for Google!

 

In Apple product news: More about the Intel Xeon chips powering the new eight-core Mac Pros: They're an unannounced model currently used only by Apple. The Associated Press is not impressed with the Apple TV's video quality, especially compared to that of the Xbox 360, which can perform similar functions in concert with a Windows PC. TechRestore is selling upgraded Apple TVs with hard drives from 80GB to 160GB. According to patent filings, different-sized icons (according to importance) are coming to the Mac OS. And Dvorak still hates the iPhone, but this time because he heard a rumor about its battery life.

 

More analysis of the Apple/EMI announcement: BusinessWeek explains how the move to DRM-free music will touch off a standards war between Apple's AAC and Microsoft's WMA. Microsoft, however, plans to offer the DRM-free songs on its Zune Marketplace as well, although no timetable is set. Other labels will probably go DRM-free too, according to several analysts. And in case this is all quite confusing, here's a rundown of the major audio codecs and their licensing fees.

 

Quickly: What's Mozilla working on these days? How fun would it be to take a podcasting class in high school? Thinking about getting a Blu-ray or HD-DVD player? Consider waiting for prices to drop in the second half of this year. In the meantime, check out the finalists for the 2007 iPod Film Festival. OWC has RAM for your eight-core Mac Pro. A proof-of-concept iPod virus was discovered (worry not - it only works if you're running Linux on your 'Pod). Devicescape, a free app that lets laptops automatically connect to available Wi-Fi networks, is now out for the Mac. And 4,000 flash mobbers threw a silent iPod dance party in London's Victoria Station. Brilliant!

 

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