TomTom 1.3 GPS App for iPhone Demoed at CeBIT Trade Show

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Date: Thursday, March 4th, 2010, 10:24
Category: iPhone, Software

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Let’s face it, GPS stuff is useful and when something is done well, it’s just that much better.

At the CeBIT trade show in Hannover, Germany, GPS outfit TomTom announced a number of new services and features for the upcoming version of its TomTom satellite navigation app for iPhone.

According to Macworld, TomTom 1.3, which includes real-time traffic speed and incident reports, awaits Apple’s approval.

The updates to the TomTom app for iPhone version 1.3 include TomTom HD Traffic for real-time traffic speed and incident reports, and Local Search powered by Google. TomTom has sold around 180,000 downloads of the TomTom for iPhone app.

At an exclusive demonstration, TomTom Product Marketing Manager Mark Huijnen showed off live traffic updates from the streets of Hannover. The HD traffic data is collated from the approximately 40 million strong TomTom device community, as well as Vodafone handsets.

The demonstration presented multiple options to avoid snarl-ups, and real-time updates of journey times. According to TomTom vice president Roy van Keulen, the traffic data updates constantly, and updates are fed to devices every three minutes.

Equally impressive was TomTom’s demonstration of the integration with Google Local Search. Using the TomTom app we were able to quickly find up-to-date info on a local Irish bar.

The 1.3 update to the TomTom app, which has been submitted to Apple for review, will offer these and other soon-to-be-announced enhancements to ensure an optimal, and even more intuitive, navigation experience.

If you have a GPS app of choice for the iPhone, feel free to share it with the class…

Wall Street Journal Developing iPad Content, Keeping Prototype Under Lock and Key

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Date: Thursday, March 4th, 2010, 06:11
Category: iPad, News

Apple’s legendary secrecy around its products continues as Rupert Murdoch revealed that the Wall Street Journal, in developing its iPad edition, has a pre-release model that is checked in on nightly by Apple.

Per the Wall Street Journal, Murdoch confirmed during a speech in New York on Tuesday that his News Corp. publication will be offered on Apple’s forthcoming iPad. According to a report in the Journal, the executive also gave insight into Apple’s secretive practices as the paper has had access to a pre-release iPad.

“In fact, we’ve been allowed to work on one, and it’s under padlock and key. The key is turned by Apple every night,” Murdoch was quoted as saying. “But we will be on that with The Wall Street Journal.”

The Journal and Apple had an iPad-related altercation last month when editor Alan Murray posted to Twitter from the device when Apple co-founder Steve Jobs visited the paper to pitch its e-reader capabilities. That incident reportedly upset Jobs, who was said to be “furious” and allegedly had the editor delete the post. In a subsequent e-mail, Murray would not confirm the incident, but merely said that “Apple’s general paranoia about news coverage is truly extraordinary.”

The Journal stands as one of the high-profile publications developing content for the iPad and last week, the Associated Press revealed that it is also creating an app for the iPad centered around a subscription model.

How much to charge for content on the iPad and other devices remains a point of contention. While reports have suggested that Times executives cannot agree whether to charge $10 per month or closer to $30 per month, the Journal began charging users of its iPhone application late last year. Murdoch has previously said that News Corp. intends to charge for all of its online news sites, noting that “quality journalism is not cheap.”

Murdoch added that he believes the iPad is just the first in a number of devices that many will use to read newspapers on a daily basis. He reportedly said there will be a “half dozen or more” introduced in the next year.

As always, feel free to hurl your two cents in…

How-To: Maximize RAM Usage on 15″, 17″ Unibody MacBook Pro

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Date: Thursday, March 4th, 2010, 06:37
Category: How-To, MacBook Pro

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Ok, I’ve never heard of this before and it could be interesting.

Per CNET, a number of 15″ and 17″ unibody MacBook Pro notebook owners have run into problems when they ran out of available RAM more than expected, especially when running programs that can reserve large amounts of memory. These include graphically intensive applications such as Adobe Creative Suite, and applications that use a lot of RAM such as virtualization solutions.

Even though no one’s really had to manage how their RAM has been portioned out since the days of Mac OS 9, the piece offers the following tips to maximize what’s there:

Checking and managing RAM:
Running low on RAM can make your system run slowly, and you can check your RAM usage with Activity Monitor, and see what applications are using the most by clicking the “Real Mem” column in the main Activity Monitor window (shown by pressing command-1). If there are user applications that are using large amounts of RAM, they will be at the top of the list, and you can try quitting or relaunching them to free up more RAM.

Turn on higher performance graphics:
If the system seem to be using more RAM than usual, you may have the dedicated graphics processor in the MacBook Pro disabled. In unibody MacBook Pro machines, you have both chipset-based and dedicated graphics processors. If you set the system to have better battery life in the “Graphics” section of the Energy Saver system preferences, the system will turn off the discrete graphics processor, leading to significant battery savings. However, doing this will result in more system memory usage since the onboard graphics chip does not have its own video memory.

Select this option to turn on the dedicated graphics processor, and offloading video information from the system RAM.

Usage of applications like Photoshop, games and virtual machines that require large amounts of RAM devoted to graphics will be able to use the onboard graphics capabilities to handle more of the tasks at hand. As a result, users can usually see the “kernel_task” process using more RAM. In contrast, if you are using the dedicated graphics, applications will be using the 512MB of available video RAM for the graphics card instead of the system RAM. This will result in more available system RAM, especially during heavy graphics usage (even though this option is only available in the 15-inch and 17-inch “Pro” models of unibody aluminum MacBook. The 13-inch and non-Pro versions only have one graphics processor and do not have these options).

If you’ve seen this on your end, please let us know.