Thursday, May 31, 2012
There has been some speculation that Apple is getting close to a release or Golden Master build, but judging by 9to5 Mac's initial findings there's definitely some way to go. The Golden Master will probably appear at, or just before, the Apple WWDC in June.
So far, it's looking like the only changes in Preview 2 are the leather bound iCal skin that you can see above, and the main iChat window now combines your AIM, Bonjour and Jabber contacts, like Adium. We're sure that more details will emerge throughout the day, though, and there's bound to be lots of invisible changes, too. We'll update this post when we find out more.
A big drawback at this point is that it doesn't integrate with Web browsers to help you analyze how you spend your time on the Web. Still, if your work doesn't require constant Web app use, knowing how long you've used a browser overall might be enough to help you manage your time.
After the rather vague teaser from three days ago, ASUS is back with two new videos to highlight its surprises at Computex next week. The first one comes with the tag line "All-in-one is no longer in one," with the money shot being the Windows 8 logo and the Android mascot showing up on two water droplets after they separated. This dual-OS and possibly dual-body concept reminds us of the Lenovo IdeaPad U1 Hybrid that never really materialized on the market (at the time of publishing this article, Lenovo's product page still embarrassingly says "This laptop is not available to purchase yet"), so we certainly hope ASUS won't fall into the same pit with its upcoming mysterious product.
The second teaser, titled "When two sides unite," features a suspended cardboard with "Tai" printed on the left of the white side, and "Chi" on the right of the black side. After a finger smears a dot of paint on the "i" on both sides, the cardboard starts spinning to show a flickering image of "Tai Chi." Our money's on a laptop with a dual-side touchscreen on the lid (the smearing being the hint for touch input), thus saving the need of extra mechanical parts to make a convertible device (and out goes the Eee Pad Slider). Ultimately it depends on whether the cost of such double-sided displays like LG's would be feasible for ASUS to realize this idea; or worse yet, this could be just a matter of slapping two display panels back to back à la Samsung SCH-W999, which might not make sense when you take both weight and cost into consideration. Well, we shall find out the truth in a few days. Check out the video clips after the break.Permalink | | Email this | Comments
There's no dearth of multiplayer games either for Android or for iOS. But finding multiplayer games that can cross the platform boundary is an entirely different matter.
Jay recently posted Words with Friends which is one such game. It's actually an ideal example, because it's turn-based so you don't necessarily both have to be next to your device at the same time (great for long-distance gaming).
But what other examples are there? What multiplayer games are there that let iOS users play with Android users?
[Why am I now humming 'Ebony and Ivory'? -Ed]
Though already available through Amazon and SkyMall, the Vinci Tab II -- who we met in a previous life -- has found its way to WalMart.com and is moseying to other e-tailers such as ToysRUs.com, Diapers.com and YoYo.com next month. The Vinci carries a 7-inch (800x480) display, a 3-megapixel camera, 1.2GHz Cortex A8 processor, 8GB of intenral storage, a microSD card slot, runs Android (flavor unspecified) and is touted as the only tablet certified for child safety. The tab also supports three levels of premium educational apps and includes a few samples, interactive storybooks and animated music videos for your rug rats to work their noggins.While the slab's first incarnation lacked WiFi to minimize radiation exposure to little tykes, the latest iteration can pack WiFi for those who'd rather not update apps via microUSB. Interested in keeping your young'un busy? You'll be set back $249 for a WiFi model or $199 if you forgo wireless connectivity -- a hefty drop from its predecessor's $389 starting point.Permalink | | Email this | Comments
And yes, you can already make Windows 7 behave this way if you like. Over at CodePlex, there's a little program called Aura that parks itself in your system tray and automatically adjusts your window borders to compliment your wallpaper images. The effect is quite nice, and you can try it out by minimizing your windows and cycling through your theme's wallpapers (right click on your desktop and choose next desktop background).
It has recently undergone a major overhaul which includes the release of a brand new Windows client. The new client lets you create new "pastes" and manage your existing ones. It joins a host of other tools from Pastebin, such as the Google and Chrome extensions, OS X widget and the mobile apps.
If you're currently using Pastebin, the new client is a great addition. And if you haven't tried it before, next time you have a piece of code you want to share or get some feedback on, you could do worse than try out Pastebin.
Smartphone users won't be losing any functionality because of the consolidation. If your phone supported the enhacned features offered by touch.facebook.com, the new site will automatically flip the switch when you visit.
Rolling the sites together helps simplify things for Facebook's developer team. Now changes can be pushed to a single site instead of two separate sites, which makes it easier to ensure that all mobile users receive a nearly identical experience regardless of the device they're using.
The new Facebook mobile can also check to see if your phone supports geolocation. If it doesn't, you won't be seeing much of Facebook Places -- which obviously relies heavily on geolocation. Images can also be optimized on the fly to keep page performance from suffering on less powerful devices. You can see the three different versions of the share button below, courtesy our friends at TechCrunch.
If you've ever read The Hacker's Diet, this graph should be instantly recognizable. Each point shows the weight for a given day, while the trend line lets you see if you're gaining or losing weight.
When I use my "main" PC, I have a homebrew solution for creating and maintaining this graph. But I've had to find a temporary solution for Android, and Libra is it.
It's a beautifully simple app, very true to the spirit of The Hacker's Diet. You can create a shortcut on your homescreen that brings you right into the data entry screen, so you just tap the shortcut every morning, feed in your weight for the day and hit OK, and then you get to see your progress (or lack thereof) on the graph.
The app remembers the previous day's weigh-in, which makes it easy to enter today's weight (as they're usually not too different). The graph is zoomable and scrollable, and most importantly, you can export the data to CSV so you're not locked into the app.
If you ever need to track your weight using an Android device for any period of time, Libra is one excellent solution.
Wednesday, May 30, 2012
While the browser usage charts we share from time to time show overall browser usage amongst the Web at large, Download Squad readers are not exactly the average bunch in terms of browser use. So today we have one simple question for you:
What's your primary Web browser?
At CES 2012, Lenovo was the first to announce a Medfield-powered smartphone: the K800. And while it was the first to be unveiled, it couldn't beat the Lava Xolo X900 to market. Lenovo's not too worried about that, however, as the K800 has arrived in China right on schedule, having originally aimed for a Q2 launch and later refining the timeframe to the end of May. The fruits of Intel's labor can be had for the grand 'ol retail price of RMB 3,299 ($524), which gets you a 1.6GHz CPU, 1GB of RAM, Android 2.3, a 4.5-inch 720p display, an 8MP rear camera and 16GB of internal storage. We haven't heard any news of the phone reaching across the Pacific, but we're sure that won't stop the most insistent of you from grabbing a unit through alternative methods, right?Permalink | | Email this | Comments
This impressive wrist / forearm cuff is the brainchild of Adafruit forum member and modder Stephanie, who has built a sensor platform into the fashion accessory. The device can monitor the exposure value, track your movements over GPS, measure your galvanic skin response, tell you the temperature, humidity and even doubles as a watch and flash-light. It was built around Sparkfun's Pro Micro development board and a boatload of sensors purchased from Adafruit. We might just build one ourselves with a radiation detector, so that we can live out our Pip-Boy fantasies down at the mall.
Gallery: Integrated Sensors Electronic Bracer