CNET TV's Brian Tong takes a look at the latest in the world of Apple. This week, Apple begins shipping the new Apple TV, BlackBerry announces what they hope is the first real iPad challenger, and Hungry Shark swims its way to the App of the Week. Also be sure to check out the new Apple TV walk-through.
If you need proof of the iPad's unmatched acumen as an e-book reader, look no further than Smashing Ideas' smashing version of the H.G. Wells classic, "The War of the Worlds."
The landscape-oriented app presents the full text of Wells' chilling novel, with side-by-side pages that, to me, seem more book-like than if the words stretched from one side of the screen to the other.
Of course, the highlight here is not the presentation of the text, but rather the 27 illustrated, animated, interactive pages interspersed throughout the book. The artwork is dazzling--and occasionally a bit … Read more
A slew of upcoming iPad competitors won't be able to match Apple's tablet anytime soon, Deutsche Bank analyst Chris Whitmore said in a recent note to investors.
"We believe Apple's lead in the tablet market will prove difficult to close by the onslaught of competing products coming over the next several quarters," Whitmore said Monday in a research note obtained by Fortune. "Ultimately, we expect the slew of upcoming competition to fall flat from a user-experience standpoint while struggling to materially undercut the iPad on price."
Apple's lead is quite substantial, Whitmore … Read more
After 15 years of playing and composing my own music, my big payday wasn't a record deal or T-shirt sales, but a sync.
A synchronization license, or "sync," is an industry term for when copyrighted music is matched up with another type of media (video, photos, games) for the purpose of advertising, background music, theme music, etc. In my case, I had 20 seconds of a song played in the middle of an MTV "Real World" episode. It was a crappy show, but it was the most lucrative 20 seconds of my life.
When you think about all the background music that needs to be carefully woven behind all the horrible reality-TV programs out there, you can begin to appreciate how much work goes into tastefully choosing the right music to fit the content. Also bear in mind that for every one music coordinator, there are thousands of bands praying to land a sync deal. In between them is a company called Jingle Punks.
This New York start-up offers video producers and advertisers a deep, well-organized catalog of high-quality indie music that has been pre-cleared for licensing. Instead of sifting through piles of unsolicited promo CDs, or dealing with the relentless push of hired PR guns and agents, music coordinators can use the Jingle Punks site to quickly search, sort, save, and share playlists of songs that are all ready to sync at a moment's notice.
On the artist side, they take submissions from any musician at no cost; however they are picky about what music they accept. If your music is approved, it gets tagged using a specially developed categorization system that favors a "Mad Men" mentality over traditional genre tags. For example, an MTV music supervisor can search the Jingle Punks library for "Juno" and be presented with a selection of songs that sound similar to the quirky pop from the "Juno" movie soundtrack, instead of, say, a listing of songs by the electro-industrial band Juno Reactor.
Now, here's where we get to the iPad tie-in.… Read more
LG has decided to ditch its plans for a tablet until Google delivers a better version of its Android operating system, news services are reporting.
Citing an unnamed LG official, Reuters reported Monday that LG will hold off on releasing its tablet until the "most reliable Android version" is made available for the tablet. The person said that Android 2.2, code-named "Froyo," is not "the most suitable version for our tablet."
A longtime Silicon Valley company says it can turn Apple's iPad into an X terminal, allowing it to run Linux, do true multitasking, and even run Flash-based apps.
Sunnyvale, Calif.-based StarNet Communications announced this week that it can transform the iPad into a an X terminal--generically referred to as a dumb terminal because the data processing is done on the server not the client--for Linux, Unix, mainframe, and supercomputers.
(See "Update" below for notes about the iPad's keyboard and initial browsing impressions.)
iLIVEx, available from the Apple App Store for $14.99, allows iPad users to connect to Unix and Linux desktops and applications hosted on remote Unix and Linux servers. StarNet makes bold speed claims too. "iLIVEx features an ultrathin data transfer protocol allowing for LAN-like performance, even over 3G connections," the company said.
And iLIVEx maintains a stable connection to the iPad, StarNet said. "Connections...run over securely encrypted SSH (Secure Shell) tunnels. Built-in session persistency allows users to reconnect to their remote desktops should the iPad get disconnected, turned off, or the user temporarily switches to another iPad app."
iLIVEx can also be used by non-Linux users, allowing them to run a remote desktop. When purchased, StarNet provides a free Linux desktop account on a StarNet-hosted Linux server. On their remote desktop users get "a number of capabilities not currently available on iPads,"… Read more
The BlackBerry PlayBook tablet ostensibly has one sizable advantage over the iPad. That is, of course, if RIM delivers and Apple doesn't respond.
By touting these specs, Research In Motion is obviously trying to execute some serious one-upmanship vis-a-vis the iPad--even when allowing for the fact that the PlayBook won't appear until the first quarter, when Apple could potentially deliver a better iPad. Vaporware? Yes, at the moment. And building a large library of apps for the … Read more
When Josh Lowensohn bought and wrote about the TyPad--the Bluetooth keyboard and iPad case combo--I knew that I had to have it. Though it's a bit expensive for a case ($129), the included black keyboard and fold-over leather case just seemed too convenient and classy to pass up.
I just received mine today, and I'm already glad I bought it, but it does have some minor annoyances. There is no right-Shift key, for example, which will be tough for formally trained typists to get used to. It also makes it difficult to play a lot of games because with the added keyboard it can be pretty unwieldy. Still, the ability to quickly convert my iPad into a laptoplike experience will be better for working than using the onscreen keyboard, and the controls for music, cursor arrows, and tactile typing make the case worth it to me.
What do you think? Does the TyPad seem like a good deal to you or should I have just bought a laptop if that's what I wanted? Is there a better case/keyboard combo you know about? Let me know in the comments.
This week's apps include an iPhone/iPad text editor that automatically syncs up with your desktop, and a game in which you control a man-eating giant worm.… Read more
Like chocolate and peanut butter, The Settlers of Catan and the iPad are two great tastes I love, coming together to make something that should be even better. Board games and the iPad are a perfect fit, and Catan is arguably the very best board game.
How could this combination go wrong?
Well, it did: Catan: The First Island hit the iPad App Store this week for $4.99, and it's the biggest disappointment I've experienced this year. Yes, the larger board size suits iPads better than iPhones, but that's the only way this app succeeds. Instead, … Read more
Jeff's back to complete a week of episodes, and although we don't normally condone eating on the air (because it's gross), we'll make an exception for Wilson's favorite treat--Lotte Koala chocolate cookies! Anyone else see the resemblance? On today's episode of The 404 Podcast, we're delving into the bizarre world of Kindlerotica, aka e-reader pR0n; Groupon is offering $60,000 scholarships to any baby parented by a couple that used a Groupon on their first date; Google's new URL shortener Goo.gl; and a blacklist of words that Google considers too nasty to include in its Instant search feature.
Online coupon distributor Groupon just debuted the most ridiculous PR campaign we've seen in awhile--it's offering $60,000 college scholarships to Groupon babies, and here's how it works. To participate, two people must meet through Groupon's dating Web site Grouspawn, agree to go on a date at a restaurant that accepts Groupon coupons, and see what happens from there.
A Groupon baby is only eligible for the $60,000 scholarship prize if it was conceived on the first date, and proof must be obtained in the form of photographic evidence, credit card receipts, or waiter testimonials. Make sense? There are already 166 members on the Grouspawn Date Assistant, so get on it!
As of Wednesday of this week, the most downloaded novel on the Amazon Kindle Webstore was "Compromising Positions" by Jenna Bayley Burke. As you might not have guessed from the subtle wit in its name, "Compromising Positions" is an adult-rated novel that represents the latest trend in Kindlerotica, or e-porn.
Whereas classic romance novels are traditionally targeted at women, this latest genre is definitely written for men and most of the titles read like text out of Penhouse Forum letters. It's disturbing to think that people are actually reading these stories in public, but the problem may be that Amazon is distributing these stories for free, which explains why they keep popping up on the best-seller list.
None of us really get the appeal, and Jeff puts it best when he describes his visual affinity toward the subject matter. In either case, if you want to check it out, another novel called "Office Slave" seems to be a good place to start....but do everyone a favor and stay out of the subway when you read it, OK?
Speaking of dirty birdies, the 2600 just published the Google Blacklist--Words that Google Instant Doesn't Like, and there are a ton of submissions. Google Instant is a new search feature that shows results in real time as you type. It also relies on predictive results that could potentially save you two to five seconds per search, but that opens up the floodgates on certain words that Google deems universally offensive.
So alongside the standard four-letter cusswords and NSFW terms, there's also a heap of ambiguously dirty words like "golden," "lemon," "teen," and an entire section dedicated to variations on the word "dog." Use your imagination, or just check out the entire list, at your own discretion--this is your official NSFW warning!
Oh, Google also unveiled its own URL shortener called Goo.gl. FYI, we spend less time talking about that than it took for you to read the previous sentence.
Have a great weekend everyone!Episode 678 Subscribe in iTunes audio | Suscribe to iTunes (video) | Subscribe in RSS Audio | Subscribe in RSS Video… Read more