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News roundup: Trek artists muse Apple design, Illustrator CS5 patched, Apple urged to pay dividends, free apps and more

Each week is busy and with summer winding down and several of us on vacation, we can't hit it all at once. So here's a little roundup of what happened over the past few days.

  • Ars Technica has a lovely chat with some designers from Star Trek: The Next Generation, the show where you may recall seeing an iPad-like device called the PADD (for Personal Access Display Device). You may be surprised to discover all those flat control panels were designed that way, in part, because they were cheaper than a panel with a bunch of physical buttons.
  • As Apple keeps piling up cash ala Scrooge McDuck, some folks are calling for the iCompany to start doling out that cash back to stockholders in the form of a dividend. It's a familiar refrain (Microsoft gets this one frequently as has Google), although we're not so sure Apple won't need that cash in case the economy tanks again or in case they need to buy Facebook or Nintendo.
  • Illustrator CS5 had a bug, and Adobe patched it. Well, it was actually a pretty significant bug for people running professional work Macs and who had more than 4GB of RAM. Apparently the app would cause all sorts of bad things to happen. But this patch makes it better, so apply it now if you haven't already.
  • Free apps! Toodledo is usually around $3 but is currently free. If you've been wondering what the hubbub about Scott Pilgrim is, you can download six volumes of the comic on your iPhone or iPad. Duck Hunt is also free today for your retro arcade pleasure.
  • MacRumors reports that Apple has hired a NFC (near-field communications) expert, which could herald ticketless concert trips for iPhone users, or the ability to buy stuff by just waving your iPhone around like an idiot. The future is soon!

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