The original Android – HTC G1 – gets Android 4.1 port

•09/08/2012 • Leave a Comment





Members of the SoCal dev team posted an Android 4.1 Jelly Bean port for the mother of all Android devices, the HTC G1. Yes, the device that started it all is now rocking the latest Android OS. While it will never officially be loaded on the device, it is still fun to mess around with the project. This project is not for the feint-of-heart, though, as your device can easily be bricked. However, the SoCal team posted a guide to get going if you are up to it. Sadly, cell/data and screen rotation are not working on the device, but Wi-Fi, touchscreen, apps, and partially Google Now are all working. If you have a HTC G1 that it is just laying around on a desk shelf somewhere, why not try it? You can check out a video demo below:


More alleged iPhone 5 parts leak out of China, shows new nano-SIM card once again

•09/08/2012 • 1 Comment


According to a new report from French publication Nowhereelse.fe and Chinese forum iColorOS, more sixth-generation iPhone parts have surfaced from China. As you can see above, we now have a look at the alleged glass front, home button, sensors, volume control buttons, and the protection element placed on the back of the phone screen that may appear in the next iPhone. The leak also adds a bit more validity to a report earlier this week that showed a new nano-SIM card and smaller home buttons for the device.

As the launch of the sixth-generation iPhone ramps-up, so have the leaks. We learned about the new miniaturized dock connector, scratch-proof glass, how the screen scales in iOS 6, and more in the past week. Apple is rumored to announce the device at a September 12 press event in California along with the iPad Mini, with a September 21 launch happening shortly after. There is not much more waiting, folks.

Android 4.1 Jelly Bean vs iOS 6 vs Windows Phone 8 – The Ultimate Comparison

•09/08/2012 • 1 Comment


Remember last month’s comparison between mobile OSes, where we compared iOS 6 with the existing Android 4.x ICS and Windows Phone 7.5 Mango platforms? Well, in the time that has passed since then, we’ve since learned some newer official information about iOS 6, along with the upcoming versions of the other two mobile OSes. So now, a new chart has been concocted which compares and contrasts iOS 6 with Android 4.1 Jelly Bean and Windows Phone 8.

So, what will be new once these upcoming OSes are released? Well, let’s start with what’s coming on the Windows Phone front. The most major under the hood change that we’ll see in Windows Phone 8 is the switch to the Windows NT kernel. This means that the OS will heavily share code with its desktop counterpart (networking and multimedia code is pretty much the same across platforms), and it will take advantage of many under the hood performance enhancements made in Windows 8 for mobile devices. Apps can be easily ported across platforms, and desktop-grade features such as UEFI secure boot, BitLocker, and a more phone-optimized version of Internet Explorer 10 are all made possible because of this. Put simply, Windows Phone will become more of a brother to Windows 8 than a cousin.

Also coming to the Windows Phone platform is a revamped, more useful version of Tellme, smaller home screen tiles, the phasing out of the Zune services with Xbox-branded media services taking its place, OTA updates, and NFC support, among other things.

As you can see, some pretty major improvements are coming to Windows Phone. So major, in fact, that the update will not be able to run on existing devices.

That being said, what’s new in Jelly Bean? Some pretty major things are in the pipeline with Android’s upcoming OS as well. There are a few improvements that we were unable to really mention on the chart. For one, Google touts that some pretty significant performance improvements were made in the OS, particularly to create “fast, fluid and smooth” transitions between apps or the home screen. Notifications have also been revamped. Described as “actionable“, they now allow you to view and react to a notification by taking the appropriate action (such as being able to reply to an email).

What we didn’t mention, however, is an updated version of Android Beam, an NFC-based feature that makes it easy to share between Android devices in close proximity to each other. Also, Google has concocted its own voice assistant to rival Siri dubbed Google Now.

iOS 6 is the upcoming major update for the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch. It brings with a bunch of new and handy features. To name a few, we have Facebook integration, 3D maps, a smarter Siri, better Mail app, shared Photo Streams, Passbook etc.

So, before I jot down the details of the three OSes and spoil the fun altogether, take a look at our comprehensive chart below:



Apps & updates: Sing!, FlightTrack Free, Zillow, more

•09/08/2012 • 1 Comment

Sing! version 1.0.1: The developers of popular iOS music apps “AutoRap”,”Ocarina”, and “I Am T-Pain have just released its latest social sing-along experience with the new Sing! app. Smule described the app as a “global karaoke party”. The app allows you to select from a large collection of songs, record your karaoke version, and share the results with friends and other users in a format similar to Ocarina and the developer’s other apps.

-Connect with your friends by giving & receiving comments and likes.
-Share your performances with the community through the globe.
-Join other songs for free and make it a duet or group song!
-Enhance your voice with special voice effects: Pop, Vintage, or SupaTune.
-Easy sharing to the outside community via Facebook.
-And much more!

FlightTrack Free: The developers of FlighTrack, the top-grossing travel app for the last four years, announced today that it will be making a free version available to all users starting tomorrow. The free version will also be accompanied by a huge update that includes a redesigned UI with integrated flight maps and details, zoomable maps, and full international coverage for over 1400 airlines. In terms of what’s different in the free version… you will not be able to sync with TripIt, but a full comparison of FlightTrack features is below. The new app will be available for free starting tomorrow in the following languages: Dutch, English, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Brazilian, Portuguese, Simplified Chinese, Russian and Spanish.

Zillow Real Estate version 5.3: The top real estate app on the4 App Store was updated today with an interesting new feature– the ability to take photos and notes of houses within the app. There is also now a “notifications” option in the Settings panel and the developer noted “Favorite homes now respect the filters you set in the shopping map.”

AppleSeed and Mac Developers to get Mac OS 10.8.1 in coming days

•09/08/2012 • Leave a Comment

We’ve received word from AppleSeed testers that the first 10.8.1 Betas are on the way.

There has been some concern over excessive battery drain in recent days as well as Apple’s curious new “Save as” behavior which also overwrites the current version which will hopefully be addressed in upcoming releases.


Google to add Siri, Google Now-like voice functionality to its iOS Search app in a couple of days [Video]

•09/08/2012 • Leave a Comment


Today, Google announced that it will roll out a new version of its its Google Search application for the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch. The new version is notable in that it brings Siri and Google Now-like voice search functionality to the App Store app. The Verge is on hand at the announcement, and they note that you can “ask for the weather in a natural way and it will provide results.”

Search Engine Land is also on hand at the event, and they provide some more details. Notably, you can search maps info, theme songs, information about people, and conduct math calculations.

Finally a legit reason to fire-up BitTorrent: Internet Archive makes over 1M legal torrents available

•09/08/2012 • Leave a Comment


The word “torrent” always received a bit of a negative connotation, especially thanks to illegal file-sharing services that make copyrighted material, such as movies, music and software, available for free. The act of torrenting is legal, however, as long as you are downloading content that is not copyrighted. Internet Archive, which tries to bring “universal access to all knowledge,” made available over 1 million torrents. It includes a large collection of films, live music concerts, books, and old time radio that are all legal to download. The organization explained why it chose BitTorrent as a means of delivery:

BitTorrent is the now fastest way to download items from the Archive, because the BitTorrent client downloads simultaneously from two different Archive servers located in two different datacenters, and from other Archive users who have downloaded these Torrents already. The distributed nature of BitTorrent swarms and their ability to retrieve Torrents from local peers may be of particular value to patrons with slower access to the Archive, for example those outside the United States or inside institutions with slow connections.

You can find the full list of 1,402,950 torrents on Internet Archive’s website. It includes video from Maroon 5 and John Mayer concerts, The Foundation Trilogy, a 1080p version of “The Night of The Living Dead“, and more. It is certainly a cool project, because it offers content in the public domain and makes it easy to download. John Glimore, founder of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, talked about why he supports BitTorrent: [Torrent Archive via Internet Archive Blog]

“I supported the original creation of BitTorrent because I believe in building technology to make it easy for communities to share what they have. The Archive is helping people to understand that BitTorrent isn’t just for ephemeral or dodgy items that disappear from view in a short time. BitTorrent is a great way to get and share large files that are permanently available from libraries like the Internet Archive.”

Families of Googlers who pass away receive 5 years of salary spread over 10 years

•09/08/2012 • Leave a Comment


In a recent interview with Forbes regarding benefits for Google employees, Google Chief People Officer Laszlo Bock explained the company has recently announced death benefits for Googlers.

“This might sound ridiculous,” Bock told me recently in a conversation on the ever-evolving benefits at Google, “But we’ve announced death benefits at Google.”

According to Bock, spouses of Googlers whom pass away while employed at the company will continue to receive 50 percent of the employee’s annual salary for 10 years following. Children will also receive $1,000 monthly until they reach 19 (or 23 if they are a full-time student):

“One of the things we realized recently was that one of the harshest but most reliable facts of life is that at some point most of us will be confronted with the death of our partners,” Bock says. “And it’s a horrible, difficult time no matter what, and every time we went through this as a company we tried to find ways to help the surviving spouse of the Googler who’d passed away… “Obviously there’s no benefit to Google,” Bock concedes. “But it’s important to the company to help our families through this horrific if inevitable life event.”

Additional Googler benefits discussed in the interview include new fathers getting six weeks paid leave and new mothers getting 18 weeks paid following birth. So, why does Google go above and beyond with employee benefits? Bock explained:

“There is, of course, research that show employee benefit programs like ours can improve retention, and appear to improve performance on some level… But it turns out that the reason we’re doing these things for employees is not because it’s important to the business, but simply because it’s the right thing to do. When it comes down to it, it’s better to work for a company who cares about you than a company who doesn’t. And from a company standpoint, that makes it better to care than not to care.”

Google uncloaks the future of search: New Knowledge Graph worldwide rollout, Gmail universal search trial, Voice-based search in iOS

•08/08/2012 • Leave a Comment


Google is currently giving a presentation at its San Francisco office to discuss the future of search.

The search engine first revealed the Web is home to 30 trillion URLs and it crawls 20 billion of those pages every day, according to TheNextWeb, while also answering 100 billion queries every month.

Googler Amit Singhal then reminded folks about the Knowledge Graph, according to SearchEngineLand, which now contains 5 million things and 3.5 billion connections between them. Singhal called the Knowledge Graph just a “baby step” in the future of search, and he noted the future ideally involves speech recognition.


Read more about the Knowledge Graph at the Official Google Blog.

Another Googler, Shashi Takur, came on stage to announce a worldwide Knowledge Graph rollout tomorrow for English-speaking countries. From there, Knowledge Graph Director of Product Management Jack Menzel demoed a redesign featuring a top carousel-like bar that helps users swipe through items more quickly when searching. The new look also provides search results with collections and lists instead of just the traditional blue links, according to Engadget.

iFixit posts repair guide for Retina MacBook Pro, estimates battery replacement at $500

•08/08/2012 • Leave a Comment


ou might remember a couple months ago when our friends at iFixit tore down the new Retina MacBook Pro. Unfortunately, the device received its lowest repairability score with the company calling it “the least repairable laptop”. While the new MacBooks provide possibly Apple’s least accessible and upgradeable design out of the box, iFixit updated its website today with its official 2012 MacBook Pro Retina repair guide to make it as easy as possible. Fifteen separate installation guides for the AirPort Board, battery, fans, logic board, speakers, SSD, trackpad, etc., are included in the repair guide with one maintenance guide for reapplying thermal paste to the CPU and GPU.

Many components within the laptop can be removed without much fuss, provided folks use the correct tools. Pentalobe screws hold the lower case in place and Torx screws secure everything else. Spudgers and plastic opening tools are absolutely necessary, as many of the components are designed with such tight tolerances that using fingertips is simply not an option.

Fair warning: working on the laptop is no easy task. Some repairs are simply infeasible. For example, there is no way to replace the trackpad without removing the battery. And while it’s possible to remove the battery, chances are high that it will be punctured in the process. Puncturing Lithium-polymer batteries releases noxious fumes and can cause fires. Additionally, removing the LCD glass from the aluminum frame will almost certainly break the glass. So components residing under the LCD — such as the FaceTime camera — will have to be replaced with the entire assembly… Finding replacements for the machine’s proprietary components is currently difficult. We’re working to source parts, but it may take some time.

iFixit also estimated that third-party battery replacements —if done correctly— could cost over $500:

Apple’s design direction is disturbing. We estimate that third party battery replacements will cost over $500 if technicians follow the safer Apple-suggested procedure and replace the entire upper case assembly along with the battery





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