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All posts tagged "software"

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Oregon Trail On Its Way

Posted by Vincent Ferrari in "Apple Software (iPhone/iPod Touch)" @ 02:00 PM

"IGN posted some screenshots from the upcoming iPhone version of The Oregon Trail. This classic game which was developed in the 1970s and later saw popularity in the 80s and 90s has been recently revived by Gameloft for mobile phones."

Wow... How many people's first Apple experience involved sitting at the green monochrome monitor of an Apple IIc and watching as your caravan got all kinds of diseases? Ahhhh the good old days... Seriously, I'll buy this one in a minute. I'm sure most Mac fans will as well.

Monday, February 9, 2009

CSS Animations: A Flash Substitute?

Posted by Vincent Ferrari in "Apple Software (OS X)" @ 01:00 PM

"For some time, programmers have used CSS Animation for the mobile version of Safari. The routines allow Web developers to present animated graphics and 3D effects, removing the need for complex JavaScript, according to MacRumors. If Apple succeeds in getting animation included in the CSS standard used by developers, the move could threaten Adobe Flash, which currently is the dominate method for Web animation."

Not much to say on this one, but one comment on Cult of Mac really summed it up rather nicely:

"Cute animations are no substitute for being able to watch the vast majority of video on the web."

I couldn't agree more.

Kindle Content on the iPhone? Bad Idea.

Posted by Vincent Ferrari in "Apple Software (iPhone/iPod Touch)" @ 11:00 AM

"Although Amazon's Kindle is great device that helps sell content and add revenue for Amazon, the move to offer content on other devices makes sense. Not everyone is going to plunk down $400 for a dedicated eBook reader. Most of those same folks do however, already own a capable mobile phone handset. Why not add those devices to the potential revenue stream?"

Just because a device can do something, doesn't mean it should. I have a Kindle. It's one of my favorite tech devices ever and has made numerous plane trips much better for me. I can't even imagine reading a full length book on something the size of the iPhone. The idea just makes me cringe. Secondly, the e-ink screen makes reading infinitely easier to begin with. It's much easier on the eyes, and works great in sunlight. Just try and do that with any LCD display device.

The Kindle's greatness isn't based in the fact that it's an ebook reader, it's in the way it does it. The big e-ink screen, wireless connectivity, and insane battery life make it a fantastic device for reading books on a flight or anywhere else for that matter. I just don't see the iPhone being a great book reader. It may work as a substitute for some people, but I have a feeling those people are just rationlizing not spending on a keyboard, but not having a really good experience.

Help For Stutterers in an App

Posted by Vincent Ferrari in "Apple Software (iPhone/iPod Touch)" @ 09:00 AM

"Stuttering treatment usually require a feedback loop to retrain the brain. This application listens to your voice in the field and offers immediate feedback, a process that usually depended on a desktop PC and special software used in an office."

Say what you want about the iPhone and its shortcomings, but you can't argue with the innovation exhibited by some of the developers. Even my wife, who's a speech pathologist, thought this one was a good idea.

Friday, February 6, 2009

So Easy a Nine-Year-Old Can Do it!

Posted by Vincent Ferrari in "Apple iPhone & iPod Touch" @ 11:00 AM

"Lim’s creation is a pretty nifty little iPhone app, called Doodle Kids. According to Reuters, the program “lets iPhone users draw with their fingers by touching the iPhone’s touchscreen and then clear the screen by shaking the phone.” (It’s also compatible with the iPod touch, incidentally.) Lim told Reuters that he “wrote the program for my younger sisters [3 and 5], who like to draw,” Lim said."

That's more than I've coded for the iPhone! Not to sound like a crotchety old man or anything, but that's way more than nine year olds were doing when I was a kid.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Want Valentine's Flowers? There's an App for That

Posted by Vincent Ferrari in "Apple Software (iPhone/iPod Touch)" @ 01:00 PM

"This free iPhone, iPod app from could come in handy, the idea of using a meeting deadzone to order a forgotten birthday gift (sorry mom!) appeals to me immensely. You can order stuff from the site, namely flowers, plants, balloons, plus cookies, cakes and wine and cheese, some for same-day delivery."

Not a bad idea for the desperate boyfriend / husband on the go! Gonna have to keep this one on the iPhone for next weekend just in case. Flowers are always a good gift and what could be bad about crossing flowers and iPhones?

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Capture All of Your Windows In Layered PSD

Posted by Vincent Ferrari in "Apple Software (OS X)" @ 01:00 PM

"Don't waste time capturing each window separately, importing them in your favorite PSD editor, naming the layers, positioning the images, etc. Do it with Layers in no time! Press the capture hotkey or customize your capture in the inspector. You'll obtain a full fledged PSD file with one layer per window, including menu and desktop icons, dock and menubar."

This app would be great for someone who writes for a website that utilizes screenshots a lot. You could move windows around to get the optimal arrangement after you take the screengrab to ensure your readers get the most out of them. I grabbed it to get in on the $15 intro offer and it does exactly what it says it does. This one is going to have a permanent place in my repertoire of reviewing apps!

Emoji App Not Approved

Posted by Vincent Ferrari in "Apple Software (iPhone/iPod Touch)" @ 11:00 AM

"I went ahead and submitted Freemoji to the App Store under the assumption that if one application had already made it there that clearly affects this preference, the precedent had been set for another. And yes, I made sure to note so in the application description as a free alternative, figuring that the weight of precedent might help get it through. As already mentioned, Apple thought otherwise. The application was rejected for its ability to make changes outside the application's container area. As Apple wrote in its rejection, iPhone applications are restricted to reading and writing within their sandbox. Sandboxes define a limited set of unique files and folders which are allocated to each application."

Apple really needs to lighten up. All this app did was automate a process that we detailed here a few weeks ago. Instead, because of the silliness of sandboxes and such, Freemoji got rejected. It's not like we're talking about changing important system files or other obvious system-related features. They're emoticons, and yet Apple seems hell-bent on making sure they aren't available in the United States or anywhere else outside Asia. I just don't get it.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Take 4 Megapixel Images With the iPhone Camera

Posted by Vincent Ferrari in "Apple Software (iPhone/iPod Touch)" @ 01:00 PM

"ClearCam is the latest iPhone app to go live on Cydia, home for the jailbreak apps, and turns your 2MP photos into 4MP ones by stitching 6 normal photos into one super photo. Similar to the manner in which Gigapan created the 1474MP image of the inauguration, Occipital's ClearCam works its magic by creating a composite image using 6 iPhone photos taken in succession."

The quality of the samples is definitely impressive. I won't be jailbreaking my iPhone any time soon, though. The camera is good enough for most of my mobile phone camera picture taking needs. Note, I said good enough and not "good." There is definitely a difference!

Pirating App Pirated; Ironic Tag Quits

Posted by Vincent Ferrari in "Apple Software (iPhone/iPod Touch)" @ 11:00 AM

"Crackulous was developed at, a donation-supported forum dedicated to, well, stealing software. There's really no way to put a good spin on it. Crackulous is the brainchild of iPhone pirate Salad Fork, who notoriously called an early leak of his software "absolutely disgusting and downright insulting." Back in November, Mr. Fork became outraged when his pirating software was pirated and released without his consent or control. Today, he must be experiencing another wave of stress: the otherwise free Crackulous software has already been repirated and is being sold for ten bucks a pop in a new wave of poetic justice."

Wow. A piece of software designed for pirating gets pirated and the pirating software developer is annoyed that his app got pirated. It's this kind of utter insanity that makes the world go 'round, kids. This is as obviously hysterical as a car thief whose car gets stolen right off his own driveway. I won't ask the obvious question here, but instead I'll ask if you know anyone who's pirating apps for the iPhone? I'm not talking about stuff like Cydia; that stuff is legit in the sense that it isn't hacked or cracked software, but more like what these folks are doing.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Where Did Push Notifications Go?

Posted by Vincent Ferrari in "Apple iPhone & iPod Touch" @ 04:00 PM

"As the end of January 2009 draws near, there’s still no sign of push notifications. Reports at the end of September said that all support for the system was pulled from beta versions of the iPhone Software Development Kit for the then-forthcoming iPhone 2.1 update. So what happened? We put in a call to Apple to find out the reason why, but unless you’re new to this whole scene you won’t exactly be flabbergasted to hear that the company was about as communicative as your average sullen teenager."

I have a feeling Push Notifications are dead and buried and that Apple is working on a way to just enable multitasking properly and efficiently, which is why we haven't heard anything about Push Notifications in months. Do I have anything to base that on? Not really. It's more or less just a hunch based on the sudden disappearance of one of the most touted features of the version 2 firmware. I could be wrong, and in fact I probably am, but in honesty I have as much to base my theories on as anyone else, so why not opine just like they do?

Flash on iPhone? Adobe & Apple Are On It.

Posted by Vincent Ferrari in "Apple Software (iPhone/iPod Touch)" @ 12:00 PM

"Once thought to be building Flash for the iPhone mostly on its own, Adobe has mentioned at the World Economic Forum that it's not only continuing work on the animation plug-in but has teamed up with Apple to make it a reality. In an interview with Bloomberg at the Davos, Switzerland event, Adobe chief Shantanu Narayen describes development as a complicated two-way process rather than maintaining the previous image of a one-sided effort that would depend on App Store approval before it could launch. "It’s a hard technical challenge, and that’s part of the reason Apple and Adobe are collaborating," he says. "The ball is in our court. The onus is on us to deliver.""

To be honest, I want Flash on the iPhone more than I want anything else including copy and paste. I'm seriously happy that Apple has finally awakened to the fact that the modern web really does require Flash and that it's in their best interest in giving it to iPhone users, particularly if you want to claim the iPhone has the best web experience in the phone businesss.

What's on Your Menu Bar?

Posted by Vincent Ferrari in "Apple Software (OS X)" @ 10:00 AM

Every computer user, Mac or Windows, has a certain amount of stuff in their menu bar or tray that makes them cringe when they see it all. Mine is shown above with each icon explained below (from left to right):

Mailplane: My G-Mail client.

Dropbox: Essential file syncing utility.

Skitch: Best screen capture util on earth.

QuickSilver: If you aren't at least using it to watch apps, you're really missing out.

TextExpander: I mainly use it to fill in my bio on feature articles here!

Drobo Dashboard: Health status of my Drobo.

Evernote: Note and file syncing.

Logmein: I don't know why I have this installed on my MBP since I'm rarely without it, but so be it.

iSync: The only thing I really use MobileMe for.

SoundSource: Let's me set my recording inputs and outputs really easily.

Displays: Just the Displays System Preference.

Time Machine: Wouldn't have a Mac without it. Time Machine goes straight to my Drobo.

Bluetooth: Connects up my keyboard and Mighty Mouse

Airport: WiFi Status

Sound Volume: Obvious.

Clock: More obvious.

Spotlight: Yep, I use the hell out of it. I don't know why people hate it so much.

Okay. Now it's your turn. Get into the discussion and share your cluttered overfilled overextended menu bar with the rest of us. Maybe we'll all learn about some great new app or utility from you!

Friday, January 30, 2009

StarPlayr Coming Soon!

Posted by Vincent Ferrari in "Apple Software (iPhone/iPod Touch)" @ 03:00 PM

"Orbitcast has received word from multiple sources (one of which is extremely reliable) that the uSirius StarPlayr iPhone app - which will allow you to play Sirius XM Radio on your iPhone - will be going public soon. According to these sources, the uSirius StarPlayr app will be submitted to the Apple Store by Saturday, January 31st. After submitting, Apple simply needs to approve the iPhone app, and it will go public."

This will be a truly great application; I can feel it. I'm so looking forward to it! Anyone else out there a SiriusXM fan and looking forward to it? Maybe you make this move instead of going for an additional unit?

"Premium Games" Section in the Works

Posted by Vincent Ferrari in "Apple Software (iPhone/iPod Touch)" @ 01:00 PM

"Apple is planning to introduce a premium games section to its App Store where it will sell a range of iPhone games for $19.99, sources tell However, the initiative will only be open to a restricted number of large publishers, rather than the thousands of smaller developers currently selling their titles on the main App Store. The rumour has been buzzing for a few months now - we even included it in our predictions for 2009 feature - but our sources suggest that it's now actually happening."

Whether or not Apple creates a separate store for "Premium Games," developers who develop such titles are still going to have to compete against lower-priced apps and games. Sometimes I wonder if these developers spend as much time on their apps as they do whinging about the pricing thereof. Anyway, this "innovation" is probably coming soon, so be prepared to spend $20 for your next Bejeweled clone. Personally, I have a bad feeling that the recently announced Peggle for the iPhone is going to be one of the first "Premium" titles just because Popcap knows that the demand will push people to pay pretty much whatever they charge for it. That, dear readers, would be sad.

Mac Switcher Bundle Sale Extended

Posted by Jeff Campbell in "Apple Software (OS X)" @ 12:00 PM

"SmileOnMyMac, Agile Web Solutions, ManyTricks and ScreenCastsOnline have extended their Mac Switcher Bundle offer to March 31st. The Bundle packages three apps aimed at those Switching from Windows to the Mac, along with ten video tutorials for setting up and using your Mac, all for US $49.95."

It looks like a pretty good bundle. I have used 1Password for a long time, and have found it worth every penny of the $39.95 USD that it cost me. I have also heard good things about TextExpander, so if you don't have any of these it might be worth checking out.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

iLife '09 First Impressions

Posted by Vincent Ferrari in "Apple Software (OS X)" @ 08:00 AM

It would not be possible to do a full review of iLife '09 after having had it for as short a period of time as I have, but I still wanted to give you the skinny on what I've noticed. As you all know, I was very excited to see a new version of iLife at MacWorld, and I think that Apple has done nothing to shake my confidence in iLife in general. It's still a solid package, a great value, and a must-own for any Mac user. Read more...

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Apple Updates iLife '08 on Eve of iLife '09 Availability

Posted by Vincent Ferrari in "Apple Software (OS X)" @ 02:00 PM

"Apple just released two new updates for both iLife and iDVD. The iLife Media Browser Update will "improve overall stability and address a number of other minor issues," according to the update page. In addition to the iLife update, Apple also updated the iDVD authoring software. iDVD 7.0.3 "improves overall stability and addresses a number of other minor issues.""

Of course, you could just upgrade to iLife '09 which is out today, but if you are planning on holding onto iLife '08 for a bit longer, go grab these updates. All of them are available on Software Update.

Nvidia Update 2009 for Unibody Macs & MacBook Air

Posted by Vincent Ferrari in "Apple Laptops" @ 12:00 PM

"This update improves cursor movement when using the Apple Mini DisplayPort to Dual-Link DVI adapter with the Mini DisplayPort enabled MacBook Air, MacBook and MacBook Pro. It also improves playback of HD video running on systems with NVIDIA GeForce 7300 GT or GeForce 9600M graphics."

I only had one issue with my Mini DisplayPort, and it was if I had my Dell monitor plugged in, the computer would freeze on awakening from sleep mode. This update seems to have repaired the issue, though, so even if it does nothing else for me, I'm happy. The download is available from Software Update so go grab it.

The Obligatory "Mac Security" Post

Posted by Vincent Ferrari in "Apple Software (OS X)" @ 10:00 AM

"Security firm Intego said that just 20,000 machines had been infected as of January 21 but that the risk of ongoing infection was "serious, and users may face extremely serious consequences" if they are stricken with the malware. Mac users are suggested to use common sense -- that is, don't try to download and installed pirated software -- and to update any antivirus definitions immediately. If you're a Mac user and aren't using security software, well, this might be a good time to start."

I have so had it with these "Macs are vulnerable" stories. Let's be blunt about something: if every Windows worm, virus, and exploit got the press that every isolated Mac issue got, we'd be hearing nothing but Windows infection stories. Instead, the tech press jumps all over these stories as proof, somehow, that Windows and OS X are somehow equal. They're not. They never were. They never will be. For all the talk about how Apple gets a pass on its security for OS X, every single exploit is considered front page news worthy of days of multiple stories. The impression given is that "we both have viruses, so we're equally insecure." That's simply ridiculous.

Particularly riling was this dopey comment from a dope reader of Christopher's column:

"I'm almost happy. Maybe it'll take attention off of Windows...."

Really? Will it? Let's analyze this trojan. You have to seek out a pirated copy of Apple Software, download it, then run what you've downloaded from a questionable source. At the same time you have to be logged in as an administrator (a no-no to begin with) for the install to happen. In other words, along every step of the way you have to interact with the process using, at best, bad computing practices, to get this "infection" on your Mac.

Compare that to a certain other operating system and then let's also open up a dictionary and look at the word equal.

I guess I shouldn't be this annoyed. The fact that every single tiny exploit in OSX (whether it's in the OS, in an application, or requires a user to throw caution to the wind and do something stupid) gets all over the tech news outlets while flaws in Windows are generally just perceived as de rigeur to using a Windows computer is proof that there really just isn't some massive security problem for the Mac, nor is this looming threat that we've been hearing about with every single iteration of OS X as pressing as it was made out to be. For the last 8 years, we've heard that one day it would all be over as far as Apple's security. At the current rate of infection, we'll have a full-blown security problem on our hands by 2043.

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