Friday, 30 November 2012

Windows 8 to feature adaptive Aero colorization, get it now on Windows 7

windows 8 aero colorization aura
While we've still yet to see anything truly Earth-shattering, the tandem of Rafael Rivera and Paul Thurrott continues to churn out insight about interesting new features they've discovered in Windows 8 milestone 3. The latest discovery is that Aero in Windows 8 will be able to automatically adapt itself to match your current wallpaper image. It's a bit like what Windows 7 already does with your taskbar icons: if a program alert needs your attention, the icon will glow using the predominant color (e.g. Firefox should glow orange).

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).

Windows 8 to feature adaptive Aero colorization, get it now on Windows 7 originally appeared on Download Squad on Thu, 07 Apr 2011 07:40:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Nokia’s Testing Lab Is A Phone’s Chamber Of Horrors (Video)

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The engineers at Nokia's testing lab in Beijing have all the phone disaster stories and have designed hundreds of tests that generally tried to destroy the phones by dropping, steaming and sliding it. Video after the break.

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New iPad Smart Covers

At the release of the iPad 2, Apple also brought out its Smart Cover product, which quickly became a favorite. Although the new iPad 3 is a little thicker through the middle than the iPad 2 (due to a bigger battery), it is still compatible with the previous Smart Covers that are currently for sale. This is excellent news as the Smart Cover not only protects the iPad screen from scratches and scrapes but is also functional and practical, and [...]

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Slope may very well be the only stand you need for your iPad, or any other tablet you own

Slope is a new Kickstarter project that aims to be not only multifunctional but is designed in a way that makes you wonder why Apple themselves didn't design something similar. The best part is, it doesn't only work with the iPad, but any tablet you have laying around.

The unique thing about Slope is that it doesn't depend on traditional brackets, levers, or magnets to hold the device in place. Instead it uses suction by way of thousands of tiny suction cups that create air pockets. This is why Slope should work with almost any device or tablet you've got laying around.

Suction is the thing that drives its function. Slope has two nanofoam pads affixed to its aluminum base, one gripping the backside of the tablet, the other gripping the surface of the desk underneath. These pads are comprised of a special make of foam that, as you can see from the video, are extremely effective.

The creators of Slope need $60,000 before December 20th to get the project funded and as of writing this, they've currently managed just above $43,000. If you choose to help fund Slope there are quite a few options they're offering backers. The minimum pledge amount is only $1 while the max is $134. There are several in betweens that'll get you different items for helping Slope reach its goal. For $69 you'll get a full size Dekke Slope large enough for 10" tablets, which means your iPad, if the project is funded. It's not a bad deal and in my opinion, it's a much more elegant solution than stands and docks that are currently on the market for iPad.

Hit the link below to check out more photos, info, and to back the project on Kickstarter.

Source: Kickstarter



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iCloud and the problem with opaque sync

iCloud was meant to make data ubiquitous -- to magically handle syncing everything that really needs syncing between iOS and OS X devices, so users simply have the most up-to-date stuff, backed up and available, all the time and everywhere, without worrying. And it is. Except when it isn't. And when it isn't, it's almost as opaque to developers building against its APIs as it is to users wondering where their stuff is. So what to do?

Tapbots' Paul Haddad spoke about the challenges of iCloud sync, especially document sync, on this week's episode of the Debug show. Other developers, however, have already chosen to leave iCloud behind. Vemedio have chosen to do just that with the upcoming Instacast 3.

[iCloud sync is] gone, thank god. Making iCloud reliable is nearly impossible for a 3rd party developer. The app APIs are confusing, unclear and unreliable. There were so many problems on so many levels that we decided to roll out our own sync solution. If something now does not work correctly, we at least have the possibility to fix it ourselves. Another advantage is that the new sync is much faster and works instantly, at least when both devices are on the same local network.

Developer Steve Streza outlines some of the concerns on Informal Protocol:

iCloud’s biggest problem is that it goes out of its way to obscure a lot of this detail from you. Their pitch is that creating apps with the document system and putting them in iCloud means they will all sync magically and you don’t have to worry and we’ll handle it for you thank you very much. But the reality of syncing data is that it’s tough, and network availability is not always reliable or fast (especially on mobile). You have to write a lot of nonobvious code to handle updates and problems. Building for iCloud once means you limit yourself to only Apple devices; you can never get that data synced to an Android device or make it accessible via the web (short of later building your own system, updating your apps, and making them push iCloud-stored data to your own server). And iCloud has not exactly gained notoriety for its stability or its friendliness to developers. The only real debugging tools you have are a web app that lets you see what’s in an iCloud folder and some rather verbose logging flags you can turn on that tell you some stuff about the syncing process. In other words, it’s not easy. I’ve tried to integrate iCloud no less than 6 times in various app prototypes, and every single time I’ve ran from it.

Streza does point out, however, how hard rolling your own solution can be. That's true if you're an indie developer, and just as true if you're Apple. Google, Amazon, and Facebook are internet services companies. Apple isn't. They're having to become one, and you don't pivot from software to services on a dime.

iCloud is still a work in progress, and it will likely continue to improve in future iOS and OS X versions. Hopefully it'll continue to improve independent of iOS and OS X as well, as the advantage of server side services should include decoupled development and hardware that's capable of receiving updates when they're ready, irrespective of the state of client-side OS updates.

The cloud in general, and its increasing importance in every day computing, continues to be a huge challenge for Apple, and one they absolutely have to nail. Fortunately, even their strongest cloud competitors, like Google, are still falling on their faces every once and a while. But time isn't on Apple's side here.

Let's hope everyone in Eddy Cue's internet services division is working on making iCloud and related server-side infrastructure not only ubiquitous, but far more modern, reliable, and scalable for users and developers alike.

Source: Informal Protocol, Vemedio, Debug show



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Nexus device factory images updated to Android 4.2.1 (JOP40D)

Nexus factory images

Just a quick heads up that, as promised, the factory images for the Nexus 4, and Nexus 7 have been updated, should you need to get back to stock. Nice and easy. If you notice that there's no updated image for the Nexus 10, you've got a good eye. Google's JBQ in the Android Building Group notes that there was a problem with the JOP40C image (which has since been fixed). So hang tight. More on that here.

Otherwise, get your download on should you need to.

Download: Nexus factory images



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Apple starts selling the iPhone 5 unlocked online in the U.S., at retail in Canada

Apple starts selling the iPhone 5 unlocked online in the U.S., at retail in Canada

As of today you can walk into an Apple Retail store in Canada and walk out with an unlocked iPhone 5. That's something that was only possible via Apple Online orders until now, likely to prevent the type of scalping activity -- the same people lining up everyday to buy unlocked iPhones only to resell them overseas -- that caused problems with previous Canadian launches. Not to be left totally behind, the U.S. has also started selling the iPhone 5 unlocked, but only via Apple Online.

There's a catch, however. As in previous years, it's only the generic GSM version (which supports AT&T, Rogers, Telus, and Bell LTE bands) that's available unlocked. Nothing for CDMA carriers like Verizon or Sprint.

Still, if you've been waiting to buy an unlocked iPhone 5 at retail in Canada, or at all in the U.S., today's your day.

Go get it.



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Apple’s iBook App is Brilliant

By far one of the best features of Apple’s iPad is it’s ability to access thousands of apps. It does have a great multi-orientation interface too but the fact that these apps have been designed for the iPad only means there is very little chance of finding them on any other device other than the iPhone and iPod Touch.   The applications cover a wide range of categories from entertainment to business with games, education and sports in between. Apple [...]

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Thursday, 29 November 2012

Windows 8 now available to OEMs via Microsoft Connect

windows 8Select Microsoft Connect partners -- major players like HP -- have been given their first taste of Windows 8. According to various sources, the build string currently sits at 7971.0.110324-1900, which is the third milestone build of the successor to Windows 7.

So far, there haven't been many details revealed about Windows 8. An actual System Restore -- which is being referred to as History Vault -- has been reported, and the feature will allow users and administrators to completely roll back a system to a previous state. A factory reset option is also said to be included.

We've also seen Windows Live integration taking shape on the desktop. It's believed that you'll be able to log in to Windows 8 using your Windows Live credentials, not just a traditional offline Windows username and password.

All that's left now is for a leaked Windows 8 build to show up on a torrent site. Feel free to tip us if you see that happen.

Windows 8 now available to OEMs via Microsoft Connect originally appeared on Download Squad on Thu, 31 Mar 2011 08:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Android 4.2.1 Jelly Bean binaries added to AOSP

Android 421 Jelly Bean binaries added to AOSP

Barely a fortnight after the Android 4.2 binaries were added to the Android Open Source Project database, here comes Android 4.2.1. It appears as if the files have been uploaded for the Nexus 10, Nexus 7, Galaxy Nexus (Verizon model included), but the Nexus 4 is being omitted for the time being. In short, this opens the doors for custom ROM makers to dig in and update their own wares with the latest and greatest from Google. And come December, the users of those wares will be hugely appreciative of that extra 0.1. Hit the source links to grab the newness.

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Source: Google Developers, Android Open Source Project

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YouTube Live now streaming select partners in real time

Not content with limiting its dominance in streaming uploaded videos, YouTube is now ready to take on competitors like Justin.TV and Ustream. The new YouTube Live service is being rolled out to select YouTube partners and will enable real-time broadcasting. In its official announcement, Google states that "The goal is to provide thousands of partners with the capability to live stream from their channels in the months ahead."

You can check out live broadcasts at http://www.youtube.com/live, where you'll also find a schedule of upcoming episodes from beta partners like Revision3 and Destructoid. You're also able to subscribe to YouTube Live broadcasts -- which will ensure you're notified when a new episode is coming up.

YouTube Live now streaming select partners in real time originally appeared on Download Squad on Mon, 11 Apr 2011 08:35:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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The Downsides to Apple’s iPad

When Apple’s iPad was launched, there were queues of people waiting to get their hands on one. The revolutionary tablet iPad was going to offer people a new device that was going to change their lives. However, a lot of people shrugged at the idea with clear indifference. Many people announced their disappointment at the fact the iPad could not deliver on it’s promises. The two opposing views show just how divided opinions are about the device. First we need [...]

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Opera 11.10 includes improved power saving features

opera 11.10 battery power
Just recently, the Opera 11.10 release candidate was made available for download. It brought a handful of important feature additions -- like HTML5 File API support and IMAP enhancements -- and loads of bugfixes. Nestled in amongst the other details in the Opera team's announcement is one more interesting tidbit: Opera 11.10 offers improved battery optimizations.

The timing here is certainly interesting, what with Microsoft's recent report on how much power the top five Web browsers consume. In its findings, Opera 11 was fairly low in the standings. While we've not seen any new benchmarks yet, we're curious to know whether the Opera 11.10 RC offers any significant gains.

If you're running Opera 11.10 on a laptop, let us know if you're seeing an improvement in your battery life while browsing!

Opera 11.10 includes improved power saving features originally appeared on Download Squad on Thu, 07 Apr 2011 09:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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YouTube Live now streaming select partners in real time

Not content with limiting its dominance in streaming uploaded videos, YouTube is now ready to take on competitors like Justin.TV and Ustream. The new YouTube Live service is being rolled out to select YouTube partners and will enable real-time broadcasting. In its official announcement, Google states that "The goal is to provide thousands of partners with the capability to live stream from their channels in the months ahead."

You can check out live broadcasts at http://www.youtube.com/live, where you'll also find a schedule of upcoming episodes from beta partners like Revision3 and Destructoid. You're also able to subscribe to YouTube Live broadcasts -- which will ensure you're notified when a new episode is coming up.

YouTube Live now streaming select partners in real time originally appeared on Download Squad on Mon, 11 Apr 2011 08:35:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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iStat Menus 4 brings Retina support, new design, and more to the Mac

iStat Menus 4 brings Retina support, new design, and more to the Mac

Bjango's iStat Menus is the gold standard of system monitoring tools. It's one of the first apps I bought when I switched back to the Mac, and it's one of the first apps I -- and almost every geeky/techy type I know -- installs when they get a new Mac. Originally designed as a Dashboard widget, iStat has since moved to the menu bar, and with iStat Menus 4, it's now completely, comfortably ensconced there with a bold new look and full on Retina support.

If you haven't used iStat Menus before, the gist is this -- it tells you everything you need to know, likely more than you need to know, about what's going on with your Mac. That includes CPU, memory, disk usage, network activity, battery status (if you're using a MacBook), and tons more. If you're already familiar with iStat Menus, new stuff includes per process network bandwidth monitoring, calendar events, history graphs across the board, more detailed GPU monitoring, the ability to change fan speed, SMART status monitoring to disks, and read/write IOPS to disks.

iStat Menus 4 offers a free 14-day trial. If you like it, you can buy it for $16. If you're an existing iStat Menus user, there's also upgrade pricing available.

Note: Bjango's Marc Edwards is a friend and co-host of mine, but I've been using and loving iStat since long before I met Marc. Still, don't take my word for it, grab the free trial and decide for yourself.



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This Is the Retractable Lightning Cable Steve Wozniak Should Get (video)

Remember Steve Wozniak's backpack? Woz's backpack is full of gadgets, and there's a ton of retractable USB cables and chargers inside his bag. So what if Woz needs a Lightning cable that is retractable to avoid cable tangle? Well, Chinese firm iPhone5mod has just released an interesting unauthorized iPhone 5 Lightning cable that is retractable. Check out a video promo after the break.

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