Appearance: PPUG Saturday in Philadelphia (Withings WS-50 preview)

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Date: Friday, March 29th, 2013, 09:28
Category: Accessory, PPUG, User Group, Wearables

Withings WS-50 Wi-Fi scale

I’ll be presenting at the Philadelphia PowerBook User Group (PPUG) on Saturday, March 30, 2013 from 12 noon to 3 p.m. PPUG is the first dedicated PowerBook User Group (PPUG) in the United States and was founded in 1999.

We meet at the Manayunk Brewing Company along the beautiful Schuylkill River in Philadelphia, PA and our meetings is open to all. We usually have lunch (or a brew) while we talk mobile computing.

We’ve got a big slate to present.

I’m going to present the latest in wearable fitness computers, including the Jawbone Up band, the BodyMedia FIT LINK and their associated iOS apps. I’m also giving an exclusive demonstration of the Withings WS-50 Smart Body Analyzer. It’s your chance to preview the new Wi-Fi scale that measures weight, body composition, heart rate, and air quality before it starts shipping in mid-April.

Rob Parker will do a roundup of the latest gadgets in the ParkerDigital stable, including the Pebble watch, Nike+ Fuel Band, FitBit One, Mophie Juice Pack Air for iPhone 5 and some iPad mini cases. Apple Distinguished Educator Youngmoo Kim will give a presentation about issues and tricks he’s encountered doing presentations wirelessly using AirPlay. He’ll be presenting using an Apple TV connected to a BenQ 761 projector.

Join us for a great meeting, it’s free and open to you and your guests. Feel free to bring items to sell or swap as well.

Manayunk Brewing Company

4120 Main Street

Philadelphia, PA 19127

215.482.8220

Microsoft Windows 8 certification change could hint at upcoming iPad mini competitor

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Date: Friday, March 29th, 2013, 06:02
Category: iPad mini, News

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Microsoft could have an iPad mini competitor en route.

Per AppleInsider, recent changes quietly made to the Windows 8 hardware certification guidelines suggest that Microsoft could be gearing up to debut a new, smaller “Windows Reader” tablet designed to compete with more portable devices like Apple’s iPad mini.

The company recently relaxed its hardware certification rules to allow devices with screen resolutions of 1,024 by 768 pixels at a depth of 32 bits. But the Redmond, Wash., company also warned developers that it doesn’t mean they are allowed to develop hardware with low-resolution displays.

“This doesn’t imply we’re encouraging partners to regularly use a lower screen resolution,” Microsoft said. “In fact, we see customers embracing the higher resolution screens that make a great Windows experience. We understand that partners exploring designs for certain markets could find greater design flexibility helpful.”

The company has been rumored to be at work on a so-called “Windows Reader” for some time.

The new resolution allowed for Windows 8 devices happens to match the display of Apple’s iPad mini, which also sports a 1,024-by-768-pixel 7.9-inch screen. And the iPad 2, which Apple also continues to sell, features the same resolution on a larger 9.7-inch display, giving it a lower pixel density.

Windows 8 operating systems that run at Microsoft’s newly approved lower resolution will lose the operating system’s “snap” feature, which allows two Windows Store applications to be viewed simultaneously side by side. Manufacturers are required by Microsoft to disclose this loss “to avoid potential customer disappointment.”

While Microsoft looks to lower resolutions, some expect that Apple will boost the iPad mini to a Retina-caliber display with a second-generation model this year. However, others have suggested that doubling the iPad mini’s resolution on its small 7.9-inch display may be too difficult a feat to accomplish this year.

Microsoft’s current closest competitor to the full-size iPad is the Surface with Windows RT, which has a screen resolution of 1,366 by 768 pixels on a 10.1-inch display. A head-to-head comparison conducted last November by Raymond Soneira of DisplayMate found that the Surface outperforms Apple’s iPad 2, but falls short of newer full-size iPad models with Retina displays.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Parallels Desktop updated to 8.0.18480

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Date: Friday, March 29th, 2013, 06:24
Category: News, Software

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Late Thursday, Parallels released version 8.0.18480 of its Parallels Desktop virtualization software. The new update, a 335.8 megabyte download, adds the following fixes and changes:
- Better compatibility with new iMacs.

- Create Boot Camp virtual machines on new iMacs with 3 TB hard drives.

- Create virtual machines from the Boot Camp partition with Windows 8 installed.

- Support for Fedora 18.

- Fixed visual artifacts when changing screen resolution in a Windows 8 Pro virtual machine with more than 256 MB of video memory and nested virtualization enabled.

- Resolves an issue with the Command + click combination not opening links in new tabs in Windows browsers (Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome, etc.)

Parallels Desktop 8 retails for US$79.99 and requires a 64-bit Intel-based processor, Mac OS X 10.6.8 or later, 2GB of RAM (4GB recommended to run Windows 7), at least 700 MB of space available on the boot volume for Parallels Desktop installation and 15 GB of available disk space for Windows.

If you’ve tried the new version and have any feedback to offer, let us know in the comments.

Apple releases Final Cut Pro X 10.0.8 update

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Date: Friday, March 29th, 2013, 06:11
Category: News, Software

You can’t knock a good update.

Late Thursday, Apple released version 10.0.8 of its Final Cut Pro X video editing software.

The update, a 1.53 gigabyte download, adds the following fixes and changes:
- Support for Sony XAVC codec up to 4K resolution.

- Option to display ProRes Log C files from ARRI ALEXA cameras with standard Rec. 709 color and contrast levels.

- Resolves an issue where some third-party effects generated green frames during render.

- Resolves performance issues that could occur with certain titles and effects.

- Time reversed clips render in the background.

- Ability to use key commands to adjust Clip Appearance settings in the timeline.

- Ability to view reel number metadata located in the timecode track of video files.

- Mono audio files in a surround project export with correct volume levels.

- Drop zones no longer reset to the first frame of video after application restart.

- Fixes a performance issue which resulted from selecting multiple ranges on a single clip.

- Fixes an issue where the Play Around function did not work properly on certain clips when viewed through external video devices.

Final Cut Pro X 10.0.8 requires an Intel-based Mac running Mac OS X 10.6.8 or later to install and run along with an OpenCL-capable graphics card or Intel HD Graphics 3000 or later, 256MB of VRAM, display with 1280-by-768 resolution or higher and retails for US$299.99

If you’ve tried version 10.0.8 of Final Cut Pro X and have any feedback to offer, please let us know in the comments.

Belkin announces 6.4mm thick Ultimate Keyboard Case for iPad

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Date: Thursday, March 28th, 2013, 06:35
Category: Accessory, iPad, News

If you were looking for a mucho-skinny iPad keyboard case, Belkin might just have it.

Per iMore,

Belkin has officially announced the availability of is Ultimate Keyboard Case for iPad. The case is presently 6.4mm thick and weighs in at just 17 ounces.


belkincase

Featuring Belkin’s award-winning TruType keys, the Ultimate Keyboard Case provides a smooth, laptop-like typing experience to minimize errors and maintain typing speed. It also offers a fully protective back cover to keep your iPad safe from scratches, scuffs and everyday wear and tear when the keyboard is attached.

The Ultimate Keyboard Case boasts features such as fold flat hinges that let you fold the keyboard flat and allow you to use the iPad as a tablet without the need to remove the keyboard. It also incorporates Belkin’s SoundFlow design which it claims will dramatically enhance the sound from the iPad’s speakers.

The Ultimate Keyboard Case can be pre-ordered from Belikin today with shipping estimated to be sometime in May. The unit will be available to suit either the black iPad at a cost of US$99.99 or the white iPad which will set you back a little more at US$129.99. It is compatable with the iPad 2, iPad third generation and iPad 4th generation.

If you’ve tried Belkin’s new case of have an iPad keyboard case of choice that you’d like to mention, please let us know over in the comments.

BlackBerry posts $98 million quarterly profit, sells 1 million Z10 smartphones

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Date: Thursday, March 28th, 2013, 06:36
Category: Finance, News

blackberry

Maybe there’s some life left in the old girl…

Per AppleInsider, BlackBerry on Thursday said demand for its new flagship Z10 handset helped produce a net income of US$98 million — a minor surprise during a transitional quarter for the previously spiraling company.

While the Canadian smartphone maker, formerly known as Research in Motion, surprised by posting a profit, its quarterly revenue of US$2.7 billion was still seen as a disappointment. In addition, the company only sold 6 million total smartphones, while a million of those were its new Z10.

A poll of Wall Street analysts by Thomson Reuters had forecast BlackBerry to post a loss of about 29 cents per share. In the same quarter a year ago, the company had lost US$118 million.

Still, the Z10 sales were a relatively positive sign for the company’s revamped BlackBerry 10 platform. That device launched a few weeks before the end of the quarter, and only in Canada, the U.K. and United Arab Emirates. It began expanding to the U.S. last week.

While BlackBerry was once a dominant player in the smartphone market, major shifts in recent years have made it a fringe competitor. For example, Apple sold nearly eight times as many iPhones last quarter as BlackBerry sold smartphones in its latest print, demonstrating the gap between the two companies.

As of the end of the company’s fourth fiscal quarter of 2013, which concluded on March 2, BlackBerry had about US$2.9 billion in cash, cash equivalents, short-term and long-term investments.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple now hiring Maps Ground Truth managers in seven countries to help clean up iOS 6 Maps application

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Date: Thursday, March 28th, 2013, 05:04
Category: iOS, News, Software

When in doubt, add additional staff to a project.

Per iMore, Apple is increasing its efforts to improve Maps around the world, having recently posted open positions for Maps Ground Truth managers in seven countries. Previously, Apple had only been hiring for these positions in Australia. Among other dutites, managers are expected to be able to do things like provide feedback for their area to enhance maps, according to the company’s job postings web site.
- Testing new releases of map code and data around the U.S.

- Collecting ground truth data to allow for analysis of the impact of potential map code or data changes relative to known truth.

- Utilizing local expertise to provide feedback about U.S.-specific mapping details.

- Evaluating competing products in-region relative to our maps.

Ground truth refers to collecting mapping data locally rather than by satellite imagery or other remote means. We heard about Apple retail employees being asked to help improve Maps back in October. This, however, points to teams of people dedicated to mapping improvements.

Apple has been steadily improving Maps since the launch of iOS 6 in September of last year. Enhancements to Flyover, 3D buildings, and turn-by-turn navigation have been made to locations around the world. There is still a long way to go, but there is no doubt that Apple’s making the effort to fix its mistakes.

Rumor: Apple working on 4K HDTV unit for release in late 2013/early 2014

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Date: Wednesday, March 27th, 2013, 05:16
Category: Hardware, News

applelogo_silver

If there rumor’s still alive and kicking, then that says something.

Per DigiTimes, Apple is apparently still working on a TV set. The latest rumor surrounds the actual specifications of the TV set which sources claim will be 4K. For those that don’t know, 4K or Ultra HD offers two times the horizontal and vertical resolution of the current 1080p standard giving it an overall resolution of 3840 x 2160 pixels; this would equal four times the resolution of 1080p.

The sources said that Apple and Foxconn Electronics have been in discussions for quite some time in terms of the TV’s mass production schedule, but that Apple has been considering where panel supply for the TV will come from, as Ultra HD TV panel makers, most of whom are based in Taiwan, are expected to be producing at nearly full capacity in 2013 in order to meet demand from China-based TV vendors.

Apparently Apple will look to LG to supply the panels for the 4K iTV and if it can prove its ability to supply the panels in the quantities required, Apple may release the iTV at the end of this year. The iTV is thought to offer not only Ultra HD resolution but also change the way that we interact with our TV sets. It is widely thought that Siri voice control and motion will play a major part in the TV’s user interface.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

T-Mobile iPhone 5 to feature Advanced Wireless Services feature, arrive unlocked

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Date: Wednesday, March 27th, 2013, 05:06
Category: Hardware, iPhone, News

The T-Mobile iPhone 5 will ship on April 12th and feature something different.

Per Engadget, the handset is being reworked straight from the factory to take advantage of the carrier’s Advanced Wireless Services (AWS) bandwidths, a modification that reportedly cannot be done with a simple software update.

Apple confirmed to the web site on Tuesday that the T-Mobile version of the iPhone 5 carries the same A1428 model number as the AT&T iteration, but has AWS enabled thanks to a factory tweak. The change can’t be duplicated by a firmware update, meaning current AT&T iPhone 5 owners must buy the newest version if they want AWS functionality.

As a consolation, the new A1428 model will be factory unlocked when it ships on April 12, the same day as T-Mobile’s launch date for the device. Apple will reportedly be selling the unit at full MSRP prices in a “SIM-in unlocked fashion.” While the handset has been customized for T-Mobile’s AWS bands in the U.S., AT&T customers will be able to take advantage of the slightly revamped model on their 4G LTE network.

The publication goes on to say that Apple is phasing out the older A1428 model in favor of the T-Mobile-compatible version, suggesting that AT&T iPhone 5 units sold after April 12 will support AWS.

T-Mobile announced on Tuesday that it will be offering the iPhone 5 as part of the company’s unsubsidized payment plan, which allows users to pay a low US$99 up front fee for a 16GB version of the smartphone, with the remainder of the unit’s cost spread out across 20 additional monthly payments of US$20.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Google Chrome updated to 26.0.1410.43

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Date: Wednesday, March 27th, 2013, 05:12
Category: News, Software

google-chrome-logo

You can’t knock a worthwhile update.

On Tuesday, Google released version 26.0.1410.43 of its Chrome web browser. The update, a 48.8 megabyte download, adds the following fixes and changes:
- “Ask Google for suggestions” spell checking feature improvements (e.g. grammar and homonym checking).

- Desktop shortcuts for multiple users (profiles) on Windows.

- Asynchronous DNS resolver on Mac and Linux.

Google Chrome 26.0.1410.43 requires an Intel-based Mac with Mac OS X 10.6 or later to install and run. If you’ve tried the new version and have any feedback to offer, please let us know in the comments.