Monday, 31 December 2012

Velocity Micro unveils three new NoteMagix Ultrabooks for $800 and up

Velocity Micro unveils three new NoteMagix Ultrabooks for $800 and up

Velocity Micro is refreshing its NoteMagix line of laptops with three 14-inch Ultrabooks: the U430, U450 and U470. These models aren't the thinnest machines in their category -- the aluminum design tips in at four pounds -- but all three have enough room for a DVD drive. All three models also feature a 14-inch display with a resolution of 1,366 x 768 -- and, notably, none of them come with bloatware. Other specs include a 1.3-MP webcam, integrated Intel HD 4000 Graphics and a rated battery life of six hours.

The $800 NoteMagix U430 is the entry-level model, with a Core i3 CPU, 4GB of RAM, and a 500GB hard drive spinning at 5,400 RPM. The $900 U450 steps up to a Core i5 processor and a 120GB SSD, while the $1,100 U470 runs a Core i7 chip with 240GB of solid-state storage. The Ultrabooks are available now through Velocity Micro's site -- check out the source link for a closer look.

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Source: Velocity Micro

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Intel rumored to launch set-top box, 'virtual cable TV service' at CES

With CES 2013 just days away, TechCrunch has posted a juicy rumor that chipmaker Intel will announce a major plunge into TV, choosing to go it alone after several failed partnerships in an effort to "do it right" this time. Claiming an unnamed source in the video distribution industry, the rumor suggests a plan to deliver a set-top box with DVR, rolled out on a city-by-city basis as it negotiates channel agreements. Despite a number of demos through the years, the Intel-powered TV boxes that have landed in our living rooms so far have been the first gen Google TV and Boxee Box units. Both struggled to make a significant impact and switched to ARM CPUs for the second generation of their products.

Based on some of the tech demos we've seen and earlier rumors, Intel's plans could include using facial recognition to personalize the experience for (and target advertising towards) different viewers, and offering smaller, cheaper bundles of channels than traditional providers. Another element from the TechCrunch post indicates a plan to provide a Catch Up TV-style service that lets users view anything that has aired in the last month on the channels they're subscribed to, although there's no word on what will power this technology.

Intel's participation in Comcast's Reference Design Kit program is also referenced, although given Big Cable's traditional reluctance regarding alternative delivery models, any sort of tie-in here seems like a long shot to us. A combo package of pay-TV channels and internet VOD has been tried before, although Sezmi's antenna-connected solution failed to catch on and fizzled late last year. Like recently rekindled Apple HDTV rumors, the potential of Intel's service may rely just as much on its success negotiating with content providers as any technology it's cooked up. Check out the rest of the rumor at the source link and a video from Intel's 2009 IDF demo after the break, we'll have any official announcements as they happen from the press conference January 7th.

Continue reading Intel rumored to launch set-top box, 'virtual cable TV service' at CES

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Source: TechCrunch

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Refresh Roundup: week of December 24th, 2012

Refresh Roundup week of December 24th, 2012

Your smartphone and / or tablet is just begging for an update. From time to time, these mobile devices are blessed with maintenance refreshes, bug fixes, custom ROMs and anything in between, and so many of them are floating around that it's easy for a sizable chunk to get lost in the mix. To make sure they don't escape without notice, we've gathered every possible update, hack, and other miscellaneous tomfoolery we could find during the last week and crammed them into one convenient roundup. If you find something available for your device, please give us a shout at tips at engadget dawt com and let us know. Enjoy!

Continue reading Refresh Roundup: week of December 24th, 2012

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Hands-on with Jolla's Sailfish OS (video)

Handson with Jolla's Sailfish OS video

We recently had the chance to spend time with David Greaves and Vesa-Matti Hartikainen of Jolla and take Sailfish OS for a spin. As you might recall, this open source mobile OS builds upon Mer (a fork of MeeGo that includes Qt) and uses the Nemo framework with a custom UI. Like any decent Linux-based OS, it supports both ARM and x86 devices. The company is also behind the Sailfish SDK which is in the process of being finalized but is still open to developer feedback (the source code is available). After seeing Jolla's various demo videos and noting some UI similarities with MeeGo (swipes) and, strangely, with BB10 (peek gestures), we were eager to experience Sailfish OS for ourselves.

If you're wondering why the mobile OS is usually shown running on Nokia's N950 developer handset, that's because Jolla employs many ex-MeeGo engineers, so the OMAP-based phone was a natural fit. We were first given a walkthrough of Sailfish OS, then allowed to play with it. Many apps are still being worked on and some are still off-limits (we got in trouble for launching the camera), but what we saw was pretty solid. Take a look at the gallery below, then hit the break for our hands-on video and first impressions.

Continue reading Hands-on with Jolla's Sailfish OS (video)

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

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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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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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Facebook Poke vs. Snapchat: What's the best sexting app for iPhone?

Facebook Poke vs. Snapchat: What's the best sexting app for iPhone?

Need an app for your iPhone that allows you to send images, videos, text, and other types of media in a secure, highly controlled manner? Facebook Poke and Snapchat both let you send messages that, like in Mission Impossible, self-destruct after a few seconds. Whether you use it for sexting, spycraft, or something else, we're not here to judge. We're just here to help you find the best app possible.

Facebook Poke vs. Snapchat: User interface and design

Considering both Facebook Poke and Snapchat are meant to be used for not-safe-for-work exchanges, most users aren't as concerned with the looks of the app as they are with the privacy it provides. But once functionality is equal, interface matters again.

Facebook Poke's main menu consists of all the "pokes" -- or messages -- you've received. If you see an arrow next to a message, it means you've already watched it and it has expired. If you see a media type next to it, it's a poke you've yet to view. To view a poke, just tap and hold on it. You'll be able to see it for as long as the timer allows, and then it will be gone. If you accidentally let go, you can hold down on it again in order to continue viewing but once the time has elapsed, you won't be able to view it any longer.

Once you've viewed a poke you have the option to reply to it directly. Just tap the arrow next to it and choose the media type. Once you've started to create a poke, you can choose the length of time you want the recipient to be able to view the poke for.

That's really all there is to it. The settings menu doesn't have many options besides the ability to report users, view the help center, and log out. The app does what it's meant to do, and nothing more.

Snapchat's interface is not nearly as refined as Facebook Poke's. It's actually quite cheesy. The main message screen has a ghost background behind it that makes your retinas want to burn in their sockets. It's just not appealing as a static background. The camera interface isn't really any better as it features ugly blue borders and controls.

To take a photo within Snapchat, just tap on the camera icon and you'll be taken to the app's native camera. Just tap on the middle blue button with absolutely no description and a photo will be taken. You can also take a video with Snapchat easily by holding down on the middle blue area. Once you're done filming, just release.

Once you've taken your photo or video, Snapchat will allow you to add writing to it in many different colors. Here is where you can also change the time that the recipient will be allowed to view the photo or video from 1 to 10 seconds.

Anytime you receive any messages from Snapchat, you'll see them in the main home area. From here you can reply to them or view ones you haven't already viewed.

As far as user interface and design goes, Facebook Poke will be much kinder to your eyes than Snapchat.

Facebook Poke vs. Snapchat: Supported media types

Originally, Facebook's poking feature was a simple way to send minor requests for attention that were either cute or annoying depending on your point of view. For the Poke app, Facebook has expanded "pokes" to cover sensitive messages, photos, and videos that will self destruct after they're viewed.

Snapchat supports both photo and video but does not support plain text messages. The way you can get around this is to just write on a photo with your finger. This probably isn't a deal breaker for most unless you insist on sending your sexts, texts, or spy messages with actual written words.

If you're looking to use one of these services strictly for photo and video sharing, either will work. If you need the ability to send messages that can be controlled and destructed as well, Facebook Poke is the winner.

Facebook Poke vs. Snapchat: Privacy controls

Both Facebook Poke and Snapchat are obviously built with privacy in mind so it's odd that neither of them allow you to add passcodes to apps themselves . While messages do end up self destructing after a certain amount of time, that doesn't mean someone couldn't get ahold of your iPhone before you have the opportunity to look at a Poke or Snapchat message, or simply snoop through the list of expired messages.

That could prove awkward to say the least, and could cause considerable problems for some people.

Bewildering lack of passcodes aside, Facebook Poke and Snapchat are neck and neck when it comes to privacy. Both allow you to choose between 1 and 10 second increments and require the recipient to hold down on the video or image to continue viewing it. The timer does not stop once they start viewing it either so regardless whether they use all the time or not, when it's gone - it's gone.

Snapchat blocks screenshots for added privacy. (Though, if you're prepared and want to badly enough, you can photograph the screen with a second device). Facebook Poke doesn't block screenshots but will show the recipient a flash icon to notify them that the message has been captured.

This makes Snapchat more secure than Facebook Poke.

Facebook Poke vs. Snapchat: Cross-platform support

Facebook Poke is currently only available for iPhone, so if you've got friends on the Android or Windows Phone platform, you won't be able to send scandalous messages to them until Facebook ports the app over.

Snapchat has an Android counterpart but does not currently support Windows Phone. If the people you plan to exchange pictures and media messages with own either an iPhone or any kind of Android device, you should be able to share protected messages with them without a hitch.

Victory to Snapchat. For now.

Facebook Poke vs. Snapchat: The bottom line

Let's face it, Facebook Poke and Snapchat are both made for people that plan to send media that they don't want spread around. This basically means they'll be used for sexting purposes more than anything else.

Snapchat originated this type of app, and if your significant other uses an Android phone (what's that about?), it's currently your only choice.

Facebook blatantly ripped off Snapchat, but has the power of their huge social graph behind it, a better looking interface, and support for text messages. If you're an iPhone only couple, Poke wins.

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Apple withdraws patent claim against Samsung's Galaxy S III mini

Apple's patent claim against Samsung's Galaxy S III mini is no more, with Cupertino citing the phone's lacking availability in the US for the amendment to its original November filing. In the ongoing litigation between the two electronics giants, Samsung argued that it's Galaxy S III mini didn't warrant inclusion in the latest volley of Samsung devices Apple wants added to its patent lawsuit; Apple apparently agreed, and is thusly withdrawing its claim against that particular device. The argument also highlights the sad news that the S III mini won't join Samsung's Galaxy lineup in the US.

An agreement filing spotted by Reuters from a San Jose, CA. US District Court revealed today's news, coming just days after Judge Lucy Koh dismissed a request to permanently ban sales on several Samsung devices. It's unclear if the other Samsung devices Apple asked to be added to the ongoing case are approved yet by the court, but we can certainly count the S III mini out for the time being.

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Source: Reuters

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Sunday, 30 December 2012

Hilarious Wry Neck Cartoon Becomes Chinese Internet Hit


Recently, a group of wry neck cartoons are getting popular in China's internet. So why all these cute little character are crooking their necks ? A giant asteroid made a flyby of Earth two weeks ago. The near-Earth asteroid '4179 Toutatis', which is about 3 miles wide, came within 4.3 million miles of our planet — or about 18 lunar distances — at its closest point. Many people worry that if the asteroid hit the earth, it is the end of the world. A Chinese cartoonist think that if everybody just crook their neck, this will let the Earth tilt, then the asteroid will not hit the Earth. He started to create a series of wry neck's cartoon characters base on the silly theory ...


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Another new wave of Nexus 4s shipping

Nexus 4

Nary a moment too soon, word in our Nexus 4 forums is that another batch of the hard-to-buy (and harder-to-ship, apparently) smartphone is on its way to the good boys and girls. The phone's still sold out on Google Play, both in the 8- and 16-gigabyte versions, as are the rubber bumpers. (Interesting, though, is that it's saying we've reached our limit for bumper purchases, not that they're sold out. Apparently we're consider bumper horders or something.)

Anyhoo. Be on the lookout for a shipping e-mail if you haven't gotten on already.

More: Nexus 4 forums

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How The iPad Keeps You Connected with Wi-Fi or 3G

Apple have done a great job of marketing their iPad device. Their strategies have gone a long way in convincing consumers that the device is the best on the market when it comes to browsing the Web or watching online streaming videos. The same can be said of connecting with friends via any social networking services according to the manufacturers. These claims are backed up with some very sophisticated apps, features and services. The overall opinion of many industry pundits [...]

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Xbox Live outage temporarily disconnecting cloud storage for some users

Xbox Live outage temporarily disconnecting cloud storage for some users

Microsoft added a cloud storage feature to the Xbox 360 in its fall 2011 dashboard update, but today an outage has taken it offline for the last several hours and counting. As noted by Joystiq, trying to access your cloud saves is resulting in a 0x807b0198 error for many, although other parts of XBL like streaming video services and multiplayer gaming profiles are unaffected. For the moment, we were able to copy/move some of our saves from the cloud cache on our hard drive (Settings --> storage --> cloud storage) to the normal hard drive section, and access them from there. Your mileage may vary, but otherwise you'll just need to keep an eye out the XBL dashboard status page to see when things are back to normal. There's no word yet on when it will be fully restored, but a message there says engineers are working on a fix. We're not missing the old "gamertag recovery" feature the cloud system replaced and upgraded, but any significant outage is certainly enough to make us think about keeping our saves backed up on a memory card in a safe place -- just in case.

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Via: Joystiq

Source: Xbox Live status

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Chrome 11 beta adds new experimental APIs for proxies, Web navigation

google chrome 11 proxy
Google Chrome 11 -- which just recently made the move to the browser's beta channel -- has received a minor update that gives developers access to two new APIs.

The first is a full-featured proxy API, which will, for example, allow users to set different proxy servers for normal browsing and Incognito mode. Proxy auto-config scripts are also supported by the API.

The second -- Web Navigation Extension -- is a bit more expansive. This API will allow devs to build everything from more powerful safe browsing extensions -- like Traffic Light -- to data analysis and reporting extensions.

Both APIs are currently experimental, so you'll need to enable them on the about:flags page to try out any relevant extensions. Apart from a proxy example built by Google and shipped with the Chromium source, we're not aware of any examples just yet, however. We'll let you know when we spot any slick, new extensions which do surface.

Chrome 11 beta adds new experimental APIs for proxies, Web navigation originally appeared on Download Squad on Tue, 05 Apr 2011 08:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Best paid iPad apps

Best paid iPad apps

The App Store is flooded with apps, both good and bad, so it can be overwhelming to decided which apps you're going to spend your hard earned cash (or gift cards) on. Stress no more! We've gathered up some of our all time favorite iPad apps that we believe to be worth every penny.

1Password 4

1Password is not only one of the best apps for your iPhone, but one of the best for your iPad, Mac, and PC as well. With 1Password, you can say goodbye to using the same, insecure password for all your logins all over the internet and instead give each login its own individual secure password yet only need to remember one password to gain access to them all.

1Password is not just extremely useful and practical, but it's very well designed and gives the perfect combination of functionality and beauty.

Calendars by Readdle

Apple's built-in Calendar app on the iPad is great and all, but if you yearn for something different, Calendars by Readdle by be just what you're looking for. This full-featured calendar app will sync with Google and iOS Calendar and has a great design. Calendar has support for custom repeating events and feature special keyboards for different entry elements to make it quick to enter events. You can also swipe between screens (something that you surprisingly can't do with the built-in Calendar app) and the week and day views feature a visual/spacial design that many users consider a must-have.


Now you can block retweets from individual users with Tweetbot 2.3 for iPhone and iPad

Tweetbot has been one of our favorite Twitter apps for quite some time, now. It's perfect for the power tweeter, with useful features like intuitive gestures, granular notifications, and flexible mute filters all wrapped up in fun sounds and a great design.


One of the great advantages to the iPad over the iPhone is that it's larger screen is awesome for photo editing -- especially on the Retina iPad. Camera+ was originally an iPhone photography app that focused on taking better photos, but it's come a long way since then and now includes great tools and sharing options for the iPad. And if you use an iPhone, your photos will seamlessly sync between Camera+ on your iPhone and iPad.


The iPad is a great device for editing videos and creating movies, but with the restrictions of simply shooting video and trimming clips, the built-in Camera app doesn't give you much flexibility, but iMovie does! iMovie is a fantastic video editor because it's super easy to make fun videos in just a matter of minutes. Videographers may yearn for more, but for everyone else, iMove is an excellent video editor for the iPad.


Foldify lets you craft folded paper art... right from your iPad

If you own a printer, Foldify will make it fun again. If you don't own a printer, Foldify will make you seriously consider rushing out to get one. The reason for that is Foldify's ability to project itself from the iPad, where the app runs, to the real world, where the app's results live. The idea is remarkable simple -- draw one pre-defined templates, then print them out, fold them up, and enjoy real, touchable, arrangeable models of what you made. The execution is even more remarkable, because the developers managed to keep the app as simple as the idea, and that's no easy feat.

Weather 2x

Weather 2x is an absolutely gorgeous weather app for both the iPhone and iPad. The included gestures are perfect and intuitive and the information is displayed and organized in a very elegant manner. If you're in the market for a full-featured weather app that includes everything under the sun, then Weather 2x isn't for you, but if you're looking for a beautiful, minimalist weather app that brings the most important information to you in an elegant package then Weather 2x may be exactly what you're looking for.


Instapaper is one of the most popular read-later services on the web and iPad that saves web pages and articles for offline reading and is optimized for readability on your device's screen. It offers a distraction-free text only environment with the ability to adjust fonts, text sizes, line spacing, and margins to truly satisfy your specific reading needs. You can save articles to Instapaper via a bookmarklet that you save in Safari or from one of the many Twitter, reading, and social apps in the App Store.


If you use Google Reader, you want Reeder - plain and simple. It's an RSS reader that will sync with your Google Reader account and present your feeds on a beautiful and clean interface. You can also choose to sync with Fever and Readability and Reeder allows you to share to nearly every social service out there.


Instacast 3 is the all new version of Vemedio's popular iPhone and iPad podcasting app. With it, Vemedio has switched out a lot of old methods for newer technologies like automatic reference counting and Core Data to make Instacast better and faster. Alongside these fancy new technologies is Instacasts new Cloud sync. Instead of using Apple's iCloud to keep your podcasts in sync, the folks at Vemedio put in a lot of work to create their own. All you need to do to use it is sign-up for a free account and all your data will be seamlessly moved to the cloud. If Apple's free Podcasts app isn't up to your needs, give Instacast a whirl.


Byword for iPhone and iPad review

Byword is a text and Markdown editor that focuses on being simple, distraction free, and beautiful. It's available on the iPhone, iPad, and Mac and can keep all your work in sync via iCloud or Dropbox. It also features a special keyboard with a swipable row at the top that includes selective word and character counters, a tab key, smart paring characters, and undo key, Markdown helpers, and more.


Notability is a full-featured handwriting app that you can use to take notes, annotate PDFs, and more. The inking in Notability is quite beautiful and taking the tiniest of notes is a breeze with the zoom window or by simply pinching-to-zoom into your document. In addition to handwritten notes, Notability allows you to add text and record audio notes. It also feature a convenient auto-sync feature with Dropbox, Google Drive, Box, or WebDav so that you can be assured that your notes are always backed up and accessible from anywhere.

Scanner Pro

Scan documents into your iPhone and iPad with Scanner Pro by Readdle

Some people poke fun at the idea of taking photos with an iPad, but Scanner Pro offers an unarguably awesome use for the iPad's camera -- the ability to scan documents and store them as PDFs. The resulting scans look just like a job done by a scanner, not a camera. Scanner Pro features an auto-edge detector that is very accurate and will help fix any distortion that you may have capture by not taking the photo from directly above the document. It also syncs with iCloud, Dropbox, and more to ensure that your documents are accessible from any device.

iWork: Pages, Numbers, and Keynote

Apple updates iWork apps Pages, Keynote, and Numbers

Want to create posters, write papers, design spreadsheets, and create presentations? Apple's iWork suite consisting of Pages, Numbers, and Keynote has go you covered. All three of these apps are universal for both the iPhone and iPad and sync over iCloud with their Mac counterparts.

Your favorite paid apps for iPhone?

This really is just a short list of fantastic apps out there, and we know there's some other great ones that have been left out. That's where you come in! What are the best paid apps you have installed on your iPad and use regularly? Let us know in the comments below!

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