O'Grady's PowerPage » Software

Mozilla confirms no full version of Firefox web browser for iPhone

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Date: Wednesday, September 29th, 2010, 03:20
Category: iPhone, News, Software

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In a blog post published yesterday, software developer Mozilla effectively announced that it has no plans to bring a full-fledged standalone browser to the iPhone, preferring instead to focus on its Firefox Home application designed to integrate the browsing experience among desktop and mobile environments.

“We are working to bring as much of your Firefox experience as possible to Firefox Home. People have asked about adding more browser-like features to Firefox Home, but there are technical and logistical restrictions that make it difficult, if not impossible, to build the full Firefox browser for the iPhone. We are focused on building Firefox Home as a rich, cloud-based application and making it a valuable product that people will continue to love and use.”

Per MacRumors, Mozilla is apparently exploring whether to tackle and iPad-specific version of Firefox Home, although that would offer limited functionality similar to the iPhone version of the application.

Apple’s iPhone and other portable iOS devices ship with versions of Apple’s own Safari browser optimized for the respective devices, and for the most part there has been little interest from major players in creating third-party browser applications for the platform. One exception, however, is Opera, which launched its Opera Mini browser earlier this year, offering features such as server-side compression to speed page loading.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple releases Remote 2.0 app for controlling iTunes, Apple TV

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Date: Tuesday, September 28th, 2010, 15:40
Category: iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch, News, Software

In the midst of shipping the Apple TV, Apple has released Remote 2.0, the newest version of its iOS app for controlling iTunes and Apple TV.

Per Macworld, Remote 2.0 introduces several new features, not the least of which is a long-awaited interface designed for the iPad. The new software also features a gestures tab for controlling an Apple TV with iOS-like flick and drag motions.

The new app also supports Home Sharing, an easier method for sharing and streaming your media that Apple introduced in iTunes 9. If you enable Home Sharing in Remote 2.0 on your iPhone or iPad, it will automatically discover and let you control shared libraries on your network from a Mac or PC running iTunes, or a new Apple TV.

Remote 2.0 also boasts high-res graphics for the iPhone 4’s Retina display, multitasking support under iOS 4, support for iTunes 10 (including a new icon similar to iTunes 10’s), and a round of bug fixes.

The app is available for free in the App Store and requires an iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad running iOS 3.1.2 or later to install and run.

Apple, Google ink deal to have Google remain default search engine on iOS-based devices

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Date: Tuesday, September 28th, 2010, 05:00
Category: News, Software

Internet search giant Google recently extended its contract with Apple, making the outfit the default option on devices running iOS, including the iPhone.

Per BusinessWeek, Google Chief Executive Eric Schmidt talked about his company’s relationship with Apple. Rose asked about tension between Google and Apple since Google began partnering with smartphone makers for the Android mobile operating system.

“Apple is a company we both partner and compete with,” Schmidt said. “We do a search deal with them, recently extended, and we’re doing all sorts of things in maps and things like that.”

He continued: “So the sum of all this is that two large corporations, both of which are important, both of which I care a lot about, will [remain] pretty close. But Android was around earlier than iPhone.”

Schmidt also characterized the iPhone as a “closed” model controlled by Apple. He portrayed Android as a “turnkey solution with similar capabilities” to the iPhone, but one that gives vendors the “alternative” they seek.

Early this year, rumors suggested that Apple was in talks with Microsoft to make Bing the default search engine for the iPhone. Though that never came to be, the option to utilize Bing search was added to iOS 4.

However, Google has remained the default search provider for iOS devices, and Schmidt’s recent comments would suggest that the company will remain the standard search provider for some time to come.

Official Google Voice app approved, should arrive in App Store in a few weeks

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Date: Tuesday, September 28th, 2010, 04:34
Category: iPhone, News, Software

The official Google Voice application for iPhone has finally been granted acceptance into the App Store by Apple.

Per TechCrunch, a source stated that the application will be released in the next few weeks. Apple reportedly accepted the application submitted in mid-2009, though Google plans to update it to support the iPhone 4 and multitasking capabilities in iOS 4.

Last week, applications that access the Google Voice service began appearing in the App Store, after being banished for more than a year. The first two that became available were GV Mobile + and GV Connect.

The opportunity for Google Voice applications to return to the App Store came after Apple revised and published its own App Store Review Guidelines, giving developers an idea of what kind of software will or will not be allowed for iOS devices.

Google Voice applications were previously available in the App Store, but were pulled in July of 2009 after Google submitted its official application. Apple refused to accept the official Google Voice app into the App Store, which prompted an investigation from the U.S. Federal Communications Commission.

In a letter to the FCC, Apple claimed it was reviewing the Google Voice application, but had not outright rejected it. Google, on the other hand, said the software was rejected. Over a year passed, however, with no word on its official acceptance or rejection.

Instead, Google opted to release a Web-based application for Google Voice, which allows users to access the service from the Mobile Safari browser on the iPhone. Unlike the App Store, where Apple controls what content is available, basic Web content is not filtered or restricted.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple releases iTunes 10.0.1 update

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Date: Monday, September 27th, 2010, 03:42
Category: News, Software

Late Friday, Apple released iTunes 10.0.1, the latest version of its digital jukebox/digital hub software. The new version, an 84 megabyte download, sports the following fixes and new features:

– Addresses an issue where the picture quality of a video changes depending on whether the on-screen controls are visible.

– Resolves an issue where iTunes may unexpectedly quit while interacting with album artwork viewed in a separate window.

– Fixes a problem that affects the performance of some third-party visualizers.

– Addresses an issue where the iTunes library and playlists appear empty.

– Resolves an issue that created an incompatibility with some third-party shared libraries.

iTunes 10 requires Mac OS X 10.5 or later to install and run and can be located, downloaded and installed via Mac OS X’s Software Update feature.

If you’ve tried the new version and noticed any major changes, please let us know.

Verizon CEO expresses doubts about iPhone deal

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Date: Friday, September 24th, 2010, 05:16
Category: iPhone, News

It’s sort of a love story.

Apple may go with Verizon. They may not. They may be building a CDMA phone designed for Verizon’s networks. And then the Capulet and Montague families sit down together over tasty food and beverages while discussing the current season of “Mad Men”.

Per the Wall Street Journal, Verizon’s CEO didn’t sound hopeful about that happening in the near term in a speech today, according to news stories.

Verizon’s Ivan Seidenberg addressed an investor conference and in response to when his network would offer the iPhone, he said, “We would love to carry it, but we have to earn it.”
He also said that as Verizon rolls out its 4G LTE network over the next year that Apple would get on board. “At some point, Apple will get with the program,” he said, according to The Wall Street Journal, which noted that some frustration crept into his voice.

As recently as yesterday there have been reports that Apple has been ordering massive amounts of CDMA chips, which has been interpreted as prepping for a CDMA-based phone on Verizon. But while Verizon is the U.S.’s largest CDMA carrier, it’s not the only one: Sprint is another that uses the same technology.

Even so, Seidenberg didn’t deny that his network would eventually get the iPhone, though tt could be that there are details to still work out with Apple, or there is a deal signed and he knows that Apple wants to be the one to make the announcement.

Apple posts new iOS 4.2 beta, adds AirPrint feature

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Date: Thursday, September 23rd, 2010, 04:10
Category: News, Software

Last Wednesday, Apple released a new beta version of its iOS 4.2 operating system to developers, bringing with it a new feature known as AirPrint. Per ZDNet, the update brings multitasking to the iPad for the first time. Multitasking allows users to run more than one program at a time. The iPhone and iPod Touch have had some multitasking capabilities since the introduction of iOS 4.0.

The update also features wireless printing software called AirPrint. “AirPrint is Apple’s powerful new printing architecture that matches the simplicity of iOS — no set up, no configuration, no printer drivers and no software to download,” said Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of worldwide product marketing, in a statement on Wednesday.

iOS 4.2 is expected to be released in November.

If you’ve gotten your mitts on the new beta and have anything to say about it, let us know what you think.

Apple releases Magic Trackpad driver for Windows XP, Vista and 7 operating systems

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Date: Thursday, September 23rd, 2010, 03:40
Category: Magic Trackpad, News, Software

Late Wednesday, Apple released a software update that allows the Windows operating systems to use its new Magic Trackpad input device. The update, which is available as a 7 megabyte download for the 32-bit version and a 4 megabyte download for the 64-bit version, adds the driver where needed.

The update requires Windows XP, Vista or 7 to install and run.

If you’ve tried the driver and have any feedback (positive or negative) to offer, please let us know.

Adobe releases Photoshop Elements 9 for Mac, Windows

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Date: Wednesday, September 22nd, 2010, 04:19
Category: News, Software

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Software giant Adobe on Tuesday announced the launch of Photoshop Elements 9, the company’s consumer-level photo editing application, for both Mac and Windows. The new version boasts a number of features that are new to Mac users, most notably the bundled Elements Organizer, which acts as a hub for importing, managing, and viewing photo and video files.

Per Macworld, Photoshop Elements 9 includes one of Photoshop CS5’s most popular features, Content Aware Fill, and puts it into the Spot Healing Brush. This tool can be used to remove specific objects from an image by analyzing the surrounding information. Also new to this version are Layer Masks, which can be used to block out specific parts of images with varying transparency levels.

Users new to photo editing can use the program’s guided edits to learn how to make edits to their images via tutorial-based instructions. Edited images can then be posted directly to sites like Facebook and Flickr from the organizer, or by using any of the templates included in Elements 9 to create scrapbooks, photobooks, online albums, or slideshows.

The Elements Organizer lets users sort images in a number of ways, including with automatic face recognition and keyword tags. A new auto-analyzing tag feature analyzes the content of images, such as lighting and contrast, to smartly suggest appropriate keyword tags.

Photoshop Elements 9 runs on Intel-based Macs and requires Mac OS X 10.5.8 or later to install and run. The program will cost US$100 and come packaged with the Elements Organizer. For an additional US$50, users can upgrade to Photoshop Elements 9 Plus, which adds 20GB of online storage and access to various libraries of templates, guides, and artwork.

Rumor: Apple purchased Polar Rose facial recognition company for $29 million

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, September 21st, 2010, 04:17
Category: Rumor, Software

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It’s the stuff Apple buys out that makes future technology speculation kind of fun.

Per TechCrunch, Apple is rumored to have bought a Swedish company Polar Rose. The company has created technology for facial recognition, which could allow for software and devices to recognize unique users.

Though neither party has officially confirmed the purchase, Polar Rose offers a number of products based on its technology, including FaceCloud, which allows facial recognition for Web services, and FaceLib, which brings the functionality to mobile phones.

One of the company’s products, dubbed Recognizr, could take a photo of a user and recognize that same person when shown on video. In a video demonstration, the application places social networking sites associated with that person around their face when seen via a mobile phone’s video camera.

Polar Rose is a small company with less than 20 employees. Its technology came from research conducted in two universities located in southern Sweden.

Earlier this month, on its official blog, Polar Rose announced it would no longer offer free end-user face detection and recognition services. The service allowed users to tag their Facebook friends in Flickr photos.

“The service got quite a few users interested and this in turn led to interest by larger companies in licensing our technology,” Polar Rose’s Thijs Stalenhoef said. “This meant refocusing and that left our free service out in the cold. Although we did try to keep it up to date, this became harder and harder over time, as our licensing business accelerated.”

Apple has its own “Faces” technology featured in its iPhoto and Aperture applications. Faces uses face detection and recognition to find and organize photos by the people in them.

In addition, Apple has shown interest in having its devices identify users using a camera and facial recognition technology. In January, The Wall Street Journal revealed that an early prototype of the device would use a camera to recognize users’ faces, allowing it to be one device easily shared by the entire family.

Apple reportedly experimented with the ability to customize the device, and have it automatically switch to a user’s personal settings once they picked it up. One early feature included virtual “sticky notes” that one user could leave for another, and would be read the next time they picked up the iPad.

Cool stuff if it happens and stay tuned for additional details as they become available.