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Saturday, September 04, 2010

Apple iOS 4.1 Coming this Wednesday

Image representing iPhone as depicted in Crunc...Image via CrunchBaseApple iOS 4.1 Coming this Wednesday
Apple CEO Steve Jobs announced a few days ago that iOS 4.1 will be released next week, but he didn't say exactly when.
A note on the Apple UK website, however, says that this upgrade for the iPhone and iPod touch is going to be introduced on Wednesday, Sept. 8. The company's U.S. website is less specific, only noting that iOS 4.1 is "Coming soon".
What's New in iOS 4.1?
The next version of Apple's mobile operating system is going to include a few enhancements, most notably the release of the Game Center. This social networking service for mobile gamers was first unveiled several months ago, but is just now being released.
Game Center will allow users to play head-to-head games, challenge friends, etc.
iOS 4.1 is also going to allow users to rent some TV shows for just 99 cents.
Most of the other enhancements are more minor, such as improvements to the camera's image quality and the ability to upload high definition video over a Wi-Fi connection.
iOS 4.1 will also include a fix for the proximity sensor issue that some iPhone 4 users have reported. This causes the screen to turn itself back on during phone calls.
This system software upgrade for recent iPhone and iPod touch models is going to be available for free.

Google Celebrates Chrome's 2nd Birthday With Version 6 - PCWorld

Google Chrome IconImage via WikipediaGoogle Celebrates Chrome's 2nd Birthday With Version 6 - PCWorld
Google this week celebrated Chrome's second birthday by launching the sixth version of its browser for Windows, Mac, and Linux.
Chrome 6, which Google released into its "stable" channel -- the upgrade mechanism for the production-quality version -- also included patches for 16 vulnerabilities and another crack at fixing a Windows kernel bug that affected the browser.
"The last couple of years we've been focused on speed," said Brian Rakowski, Chrome's director of product management. "A lot of things have changed in the last two years [in browsers], but the one thing we've learned is that speed matters. It's something Google's always believed in and it resonates with people."
One analyst isn't so sure. "Speed is absolutely important," said Sheri McLeish of Forrester Research. "But it's really just a horse race, with whoever comes out with the latest release generally the fastest."

Quad core and eight-core Mac Pros (Mid 2010) Review | Desktops | From the Lab | Macworld

Mac Pro TowerImage via WikipediaQuad core and eight-core Mac Pros (Mid 2010) Review | Desktops | From the Lab | Macworld
Quad core and eight-core Mac Pros (Mid 2010)
Apple's tower computer offers expandability, multiple customization options
by James Galbraith,
These days, the consumer-oriented iMacs stand on their own against (and in some cases, surpass) the Mac Pro in day-to-day performance. Does that mean that the Mac Pro has lost its relevance in today’s work environment? Hardly.
Mac Pro Xeon/2.8GHz (4 Cores)
The Mac Pro continues to be all about expandability and customization. There are literally billions of configuration combinations available, from four to 12 processing cores, from one to four hard drives or SSDs, up to 32GB of RAM, an Apple RAID card, multiple graphics cards, and more. Anyone who’s struggled to install anything more than RAM in the rest of Apple’s Mac lineup can appreciate how easily these components can be accessed, swapped and installed on the Mac Pro.
Another advantage the Mac Pro has is its use of multiple processors with multiple cores. Though programs that take full advantage of up to 24 virtual processing cores are scarce, for the people using Mathematica, Cinema 4D and other high-end software, the performance advantage is undeniable.
The Mac Pro also offers display versatility. Many users despise the glossy screens found on the iMac; some need larger or smaller displays with high-end color control and accuracy for color critical work. With an iMac, you’re stuck with what Apple offers. With a Mac Pro, you can use a display you like, and connect two or more displays, if needed.

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Wi-Fi Performance: What You Don't Know Can Hurt You - PCWorld

Wi-Fi Performance: What You Don't Know Can Hurt You - PCWorld
When you need to get a better picture of your Wi-Fi environment, consider turning to the free, open source, inSSIDer program.
Michael Horowitz
Thursday, September 02, 2010 02:37 PM PDT
I recently stayed at a Bed and Breakfast that offered guests two unprotected wireless networks. There were no other Wi-Fi networks in the area, yet the signal strength in my room was poor and Internet access was slow and spotty.
Windows does a miserable job of reporting on some important aspects of wireless networks, so whenever I need to get a better picture of the Wi-Fi environment, I turn to the free, open source, inSSIDer program from MetaGeek. inSSIDer runs on Windows XP, Vista and 7, both 32 and 64 bit.
Perhaps the most important aspect of wireless networks that inSSIDer reports but Windows omits, is the channel.
When setting up a new router, it is best to chose a channel used by the fewest (or none if possible) of your neighbors. inSSIDer makes this easy, as you can sort the display by signal strength. This lets you see the channels being used by the networks most likely to cause the greatest interference, and avoid them.
The 2.4GHz range used by most Wi-Fi networks offers offers 11 channels*. Of these, you should only use channels 1, 6 and 11 because they are the only ones that don't overlap. Some routers claim to be able to find the least used channel on their own.
Both networks at the Bed and Breakfast were using the same channel. No wonder the connection was flaky. The two networks were stepping on each others feet, most unnecessarily.
Who could have made such a basic mistake? According to the manager of the Bed and Breakfast, the Geek Squad set up the Wi-Fi networks.
If you use a Mac get the program AirRadar. It will provide you with all the possible information you need about wifi networks in your neighborhood.
John H. Armwood

Laptops Look Like Racecars -- and Not in a Good Way -

Laptops Look Like Racecars -- and Not in a Good Way -
Laptops Look Like Racecars — and Not in a Good Way
Tony Avelar/Bloomberg Customers may hate stickers on laptops, but it doesn’t seem like they’re going away anytime soon.
At a meeting with Advanced Micro Devices the other day, representatives talked to me about chip sets and clock speeds, of discrete graphics and die sizes. But in passing, they mentioned an additional company initiative that really perked me up: laptop stickers.
When you buy a new Windows PC, as you probably know, it comes festooned with little (or not so little) stickers on the palm rests. There’s one for Windows, one for Skype, one for Intel, one for the laptop company, maybe an Energy Star sticker and so on.
As A.M.D. points out, it’s like buying a new, luxury car — and discovering that it comes with nonremovable bumper stickers that promote the motor oil, the floor mat maker, the windshield-fluid company and the pine tree air freshener you have no intention of ever using.
Never mind that all of this promotional garbage already appears on the box. Do you really need it physically affixed to the actual computer?
Physically — and semi-permanently? I tried to fingernail some of the stickers off that H.P. laptop, and it was a disaster. You can peel them up, but they shred, and they leave adhesive crud behind. When you’ve just spent big bucks on a laptop, should you really be obligated to spend the first 20 minutes trying to dissolve away the sticker goop with WD40? (There’s a missed promotional opportunity for H.P.)
A.M.D.’s research shows that consumers hate the stickers (duh). But they’re not going away, for one simple reason: There’s big money involved. Intel, Microsoft, Skype and whoever else is represented by the stickers actually pay the computer companies for the billboard space. That’s why H.P., for example, would tolerate gumming up its laptops’ good looks with crass ads. (Apple refuses to put Intel stickers on its computers, even though there’s Intel inside. In doing so, it leaves millions of dollars a year on the table.)
I’m not even sure it’s money well spent. If you buy a Windows laptop, it’s pretty obvious you’re going to get Windows on it. If the computer box says “Intel inside,” you pretty much already know that when you open the box.
Another reason among many to buy a Mac instead of a P.C.
John H. Armwood

Apple - iTunes - Explore the new iTunes

Apple - iTunes - Explore the new iTunes
iTunes 10 for Mac ans PC has just been released. It incluses iTunes Ping that allows you to track artists you like and $.99 TV show rentals. There are also features that support the new Apple TV released today as well as support for Airplay which allows you to stream music throughout your house to speakers.
John H. Armwood

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

The New Apple TV, Ipod Touch & Nano

The New Apple TV
Apple has revealed its new, streaming-only Apple TV. And it's just 1/4 the size of the old one. The tiny successor will pack built-in power supply, HDMI, ethernet, and 802.11n wireless, priced down to $99. (UPDATED: Now with hands on)
The New Apple TV

Summary: Apple kicks off fall with iPod, Apple TV overhauls | iPod & Entertainment | MacUser | Macworld

Summary: Apple kicks off fall with iPod, Apple TV overhauls | iPod & Entertainment | MacUser | Macworld
Those plans include a revamped iPod touch that adopts many of the features of its iPhone 4 counterpart—including front-and-back-facing cameras and support for Apple’s FaceTime video chat technology. The fourth-generation touch also sports the Retina display technology introduced to the iPhone line this summer.
Available next week, the touch comes in 8GB, 32GB, and 64GB capacities, priced at $229, $299, and $399, respectively.
As for Apple’s other iPod offerings, both the nano and shuffle have undergone radical redesigns. The latest iPod nano now features a touch-interface on a chip-sized device—it’s 46 percent smaller and 42 percent lighter than the previous nano.
The interface of the new nano will remind users of the iPhone and iPod touch—it features multiple Home screens capable of holding up to four icons each that users can scroll between.
The nano may come with a new design, but it’s lost some capabilities from previous generations. The video camera Apple introduced to last year’s nano offering is gone as is the ability to play back videos.
The nano comes in seven colors and in two capacities—a $149 8GB model and a $179 16GB model. It ships next week.
The shuffle also gets a radical new look. A circular playback control returns to the music player, which also retains the previous versions support for multiple playlists and VoiceOver capabilities for announcing artists, albums, and songs. Apple added support for Genius playlists to the shuffle, which now offers 15 hours of battery life.
Available next week, the shuffle comes in five different colors. The 2GB music player costs $49.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Google Unveils System For Prioritizing E-Mail : NPR

Google Unveils System For Prioritizing E-Mail : NPR

If you feel like you can't deal with all the e-mail in your inbox, you are not alone. Market researchers say nearly 300 billion e-mails are sent each day. On average you will send and receive 110 messages daily. Google is releasing a feature Tuesday for its Gmail service that the company says will help set priorities for your inbox and ease up that sense of information overload.
Not sure which e-mail to read first? Wrong e-mails turn up in the spam box? The new Google system sorts through all of your messages and puts the important ones in a separate priority inbox.

BBC News - Google and Skype could be hit by India data curbs

BBC News - Google and Skype could be hit by India data curbs
India has toughened its scrutiny of telecoms firms with a directive demanding "access to everything".
An Indian Home Ministry official told the BBC that "any company with a telecoms network should be accessible".
"It could be Google or Skype, but anyone operating in India will have to provide data," he said.
The move follows high-profile talks with Blackberry maker Research in Motion about ways to allow Indian security forces to monitor data.
The government is also likely to target virtual private networks, which give secure access to company networks for employees working away from their offices.
To-do list
Some have speculated that the Indian government's new focus on its snooping powers is down to increased fears of terrorism.
Carsten Casper, a research director at analyst firm Gartner thinks it more likely that the government is simply "working its way down the to-do list".
"It is based on the ICT Act of 2000 which was revised in 2008. This is about interpreting that act and offering guidance to companies. It is one thing to have a law, but companies don't know how to configure their systems and these are more specific rules," he said.
The tightening of the rules is likely to affect Google, which uses powerful encryption in its Gmail service, and internet telecom service Skype.
"Skype has a similar issue to Blackberry, in so far as it uses a proprietary protocol and no-one knows what is under the hood," said Mr Casper.
RIM has been given 60 days to come up with a way to open up its data to Indian law enforcement authorities.
It has been reported that it is proposing setting up a server in India as part of the solution.
But Blackberry said that locating its servers locally would make no difference.
And India is the worlds largest democracy?  This is not very democratic.  The right to privacy is essential for a functional democracy.

John H. Armwood