NEW YORK CITY--Maybe it's the unseasonably warm weather, or maybe it's just the appeal of surfing the Web from your iPad anywhere at anytime--but there are people lined up outside of Apple retail outlets waiting to buy the new iPad 3G.
For the Wi-Fi version of the iPad released on Saturday, April 3, the early morning lines were long (even if the crowds thinned quickly) and most everyone waiting for a system was able to buy one on launch day. This time around, the launch window has been moved to 5 p.m. EST on a Friday, and … Read more
If you are a fan of the age-old brain-twisting game Mastermind, you might want to pick up one of Livescribe's Pulse smart pens.
That's because the game, or at least a version of it, was judged the best application for the Pulse pen, a technological wonder that allows users to take notes and automatically synchronize them with an audio recording.
On Wednesday, Livescribe announced the winners of its app contest, a competition in which the company's users weighed in on the best apps available in its store. Like Apple's App Store, many of the most popular … Read more
This is what wireless iPhone syncing looks like:
Too bad you probably won't get to enjoy it.
Earlier this month, just ahead of Apple's iPhone OS 4 announcement, I posted a poll asking what new feature you wanted the most. Though multitasking was the clear winner with 36 percent of the vote, nearly 10 percent of voters named "syncing over Wi-Fi" as their top pick.
Needless to say, those folks didn't get their wish.
Despite the fact that Microsoft's Zune player has offered Wi-Fi syncing since 2007, Apple is either unwilling or unable to bestow it upon iPad, iPod, and iPhone users. Well, probably not unable, but obviously unwilling--which is why the new Wi-Fi Sync app will likely get rejected by Apple's App Store overlords.… Read more
Matt Casamassina, who has spent the last 13 years covering Nintendo at game publisher IGN, is leaving the company and heading to Apple. According to his personal blog, Casamassina will be in charge of curating the gaming content in the App Store.
What, exactly, that means isn't clear, though Casamassina wrote, "In a nutshell, I will be leading the charge for games on the App Store, so whether you browse through iTunes, iPhone, iPod Touch, or iPad, the games content you see will be handpicked and organized by me and my team."
The job description, which is … Read more
When Barnes & Noble launched the Nook e-book reader late last year, the company said it would offer unique features such as e-book lending, free in-store streaming of many titles, and Android apps that would run on the color touch screen at the bottom of the device. Well, after releasing two smaller firmware updates that mainly focused on fixing bugs, improving performance, and tweaking the user interface, Barnes & Noble has finally rolled out a more substantial update that includes the extra features it originally promised would set the Nook apart from Amazon's Kindle.
While the lending feature has been available for several months, one of the key additions is the Read in Store wireless streaming feature. Once the new firmware is installed (version 1.3 should be automatically pushed to your device once you connect to a Wi-Fi network and check for new content in your library), you'll be able to read certain books from the company's e-book catalog free of charge on your Nook when you're in a Barnes & Noble store (free Wi-Fi is offered in stores). As previously reported, you can only access a title for up to an hour per day, but you could return on subsequent days to continue reading. Alternatively, you could also just sit in a store and read a hard copy of the book at your leisure, but that's so old-school.
Barnes & Noble didn't specify just how many books would be available for free streaming, but company reps said that at launch content would be available from all the major publishers and that some bestsellers would be on the list. (We'll be checking just how much content is actually available in the next few days).
Additionally, Barnes & Noble has added two Android games to the Nook--chess and sudoku--along with a Web browser that's labeled with the "beta" tag.
It's also important to note that because the device can now access the Web, you can log in to Wi-Fi networks that require authentication via a Web page. Nook owners have been asking for the ability to access more public Wi-Fi hot spots since the e-reader's launch. The firmware is also supposed to fix some outstanding bugs, including a freezing problem that affected certain units, and to speed up page turns (yes, they do seem faster).
Here's the quick rundown of what's new in v1.3:Read in Store wireless streaming of certain e-book titles Web browser Two Android games (chess, sudoku) Bug fixes (allegedly addresses freezing problem with certain units) User interface and performance tweaks (faster page turns)
In advance of the update, we got a demo of the Read in Store feature at a Barnes & Noble in Manhattan, and the streaming appeared to work just fine. While only e-books will be available for launch, company reps said the ability to stream periodicals would be added in the near future.
The demo was conducted in an in-store Barnes & Noble Cafe, and a couple of tables away from us, a patron was flipping through a few magazines he'd borrowed from the nearby magazine rack as he sipped coffee. At another table, a customer was using B&N's free Wi-Fi to surf the Web on his iPad, which begged the question, when would we see a new B&N eReader iPad app? … Read more
Sure, it's easier to buy downloads or CDs over the Internet, but if you're lucky enough to still have a local "record store," drop by today. It may be participating in Record Store Day celebrations in the U.S. and U.K. and offer special deals or discounts. And who knows, you might even meet other people who like music.
I've discovered so much great music in stores over the years playing over their sound systems, or talking with the stores' employees and customers. There's also something about holding a CD or LP in my hands that I can't get online.
If you love music, it's time to show respect for it in its tangible form, and stop music from becoming nothing more than disposable digital data. Musicians work long and hard to record their tunes, why wouldn't you want to hear everything they laid down? A 128Kbps or 256Kbps download "loses" a lot of music that was part of the original recording. How much is lost? Well, CDs run at 1,411Kbps; where do those other bits go?
One thing's for sure, you're not hearing them when you listen to downloaded music. And if you can't hear the difference today, you will in the years ahead when you get better speakers or headphones. You may have to buy the music you've already paid for again to hear what you've been missing.
But Record Store Day is a celebration of the little guy and independent record stores, and since the giants like Tower Records are history, most brick-and-mortar record shops are indies, owned by folks who have a real passion for music. … Read more
Mark Fiore's job is making fun of political figures. And he's actually quite good at it, according to the Pulitzer Prize Committee.
Earlier this week it named him the winner of the Pulitzer Prize in editorial cartooning, but Apple rejected an iPhone app containing Fiore's cartoons in December. The reason? Apple said applications that ridicule public figures are not allowed.
That presents a problem for Fiore, and all editorial cartoonists and political satirists who'd like to submit their work to the App Store for that matter, because, well, that's what they do.
Luckily for Fiore, the Nieman Journalism Lab took up his cause and wrote about his app's rejection. A day later Apple relented, and on Friday asked Fiore to resubmit. The New York Times reported Friday afternoon that Steve Jobs himself called it "a mistake that's being fixed." That's great for Fiore, but not every political satirist is a Pulitzer winner who can get publicity for his app's unfair rejection.
So what does that mean for the future of news or editorial products on the iPad and iPhone? It's safe to assume that quashing political satire isn't Apple's goal here. But it's a legitimate concern for the journalism community that to be featured on the App Store they have to submit their news content to a company unafraid to exercise what sometimes seems like arbitrary control. The thinking goes, what if Apple finds a headline offensive? Or what if there's an unfavorable article about Apple itself even? That's not to say Apple would do that, but its inconsistent handling of App Store submissions sets a troubling precedent. … Read more
As of about noon Tuesday on the West Coast, Google's mobile app for the iPad is available as a free download in the App store. If you've used the iPhone version, be ready for more of the same. And that's too bad.
Google has basically just taken the iPad's Safari browser and used this app to make it very Google-centric, but that's about the only thing the app brings: no Chrome, no Android-ish interface, nothing. Sure, you get voice search and location-specified searches built in, but it comes across as a half-effort.
Google perhaps missed … Read more
NCH's FastFox Typing Expander is basically a supermacro utility that you can use to create, store, and activate keyboard shortcuts that instantly insert lines or whole paragraphs of text as you type. It's a dream come true for those unfortunate souls who must type the same thing over and over. Properly used, it can drastically reduce typing time and keystrokes.
At just over 190K, FastFox is a small download that installs with equal speed. It features a simple dialog interface with File, Shortcut, and Help menus, and labeled icons for Options, Shared Shortcuts, and downloading the optional NCH … Read more