Voice Recognition Feature Seems Likely for iPhone OS 3.0

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, April 22nd, 2009, 08:22
Category: iPhone, Rumor

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As the iPhone OS 3.0 beta software has been picked apart, some interesting new discoveries have emerged for consideration. The latest one, which centers around voice recognition and voice synthesis, may take the cake, though.
According to Ars Technica, the software, nicknamed “Jabbler”, will be built into the SpringBoard application (the software component that controls the home screen, launches other applications and will be the basis of the upcoming Spotlight search feature).
Jabbler will likely have voice functionality similar to the software bundled with the latest iPod Shuffle, i.e. a computerized voice reading off playlists and other textually-based content.
Sources close to the story have mentioned the upcoming feature, which has yet to be confirmed by official Apple sources. The ability to control voice features via the iPhone headset has also been mentioned.
Voice control features could bring the iPhone up to speed with many other phones that come with voice-dialing, and will broaden the playing field with a voice search function like the Google app as well as be useful for turn-by-turn GPS navigation, eBook reading capabilities, and on-the-spot note-taking.

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Mozilla Releases Firefox 3.0.9 Update

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Date: Wednesday, April 22nd, 2009, 08:02
Category: Software

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Early Wednesday, Mozilla.org released version 3.0.9 of its Firefox web browser.
The new browser, a 17.3 megabyte download, sports the following fixes and changes:

  • Fixed several security issues.
  • Fixed several stability issues.
  • Many users experienced an issue where a corrupt local database caused Firefox to “lose” its stored cookies. (bug 470578)
  • Fixed an issue where, starting with Firefox 3.0.7, inline image attachments on popular webmail services (like AOL and AIM) would not display. (bug 482659)
  • Large forms would sometimes take a long time to submit. (bug 426991)
  • In certain cases, new windows would not have proper focus. (bug 446568)
  • The program requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later to install and run.

    Adium beta Includes Twitter Connectivity

    Posted by:
    Date: Tuesday, April 21st, 2009, 22:06
    Category: Mac, Software
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    The Adium folks have been hard at work and one of the new features slated for version 1.4 is accessing Twitter accounts. That should come as no surprise considering the explosion of Twitter popularity and the development of software to access the service. As Zack West of the Adium blog put it:

    “For well over a year now, Twitter has been an often-requested addition to our repertoire of services. As a user of the service I absolutely understand. The current base of Twitter clients often leave something to be desired, behave in a weird way, or just add an additional application you need to keep open.”

    You will be able to open your Twitter timeline in a separate “group chat” window and people you are following will be displayed in a contact list. According to the blog, nearly all the usual features will also be there, such as looking up someone’s info, following and unfollowing, and adding images to Twitpic.

    For more information, follow the blog, or download the nightly beta and try it out for yourself. I’m sure they’d love some feedback.

    Now if they could just get video working, I could dump iChat!

    AT&T Confirms Efforts to Double 3G Network Speeds

    Posted by:
    Date: Tuesday, April 21st, 2009, 07:01
    Category: iPhone

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    In an interview with TelephonyOnline, AT&T vice president of technology realization Scott McElroy has confirmed that the carrier is currently performing a variety of upgrades on its 3G network that should combine to double capacity in the coming months.
    McElroy stated that his team plans to upgrade “the downlink capacity on its high-speed packet access (HSPA) from 3.6 megabits per second to 7.2 Mb/s through software upgrades at the base station.”
    Though McElroy didn’t provide a timetable for the upgrade, he said that AT&T is in the process of field certifying the faster network in two test markets, adding that AT&T plans to eventually migrate its 3G networks to evolved-HSPA (or HSPA+), which would increase top speeds threefold.
    AT&T could then theoretically upgrade its HSPA network to 14.4 Mb/s but is expected to forgo that option due to a technical problem and its ability to migrate directly to 21 Mb/s HSPA+, McElroy said. He told TelephonyOnline that AT&T will focus “on upgrades to the baseband, which will dramatically increase capacity without having to fiddle with the elements on the tower or in the core.”
    McElroy also noted that AT&T is simultaneously upgrading its network backbone to handle the increased data traffic resulting from its network upgrades. He refused to reveal the exact extent of those upgrades.
    Sources close to the story say Apple has set a strict deadline that asks AT&T to complete the upgrade, quality test it, and have it ready to go live no later than May 31st. The third-generation iPhone is expected to be unveiled a few weeks later.
    Meanwhile, McElroy says AT&T is also looking further ahead, selecting vendors for its 4G (or long-term evolution (LTE)) network expected to go live in test markets by 2010 ahead of widespread commercial availability the following year.
    The carrier will reportedly use both its 700 MHz and advanced wireless services (AWS) spectrum to facilitate the LTE launch, with other spectrums on reserve should 4G usage take off. It could also repurpose its 2G and 3G channels for LTE once users begin migrating off those channels to the 4th-gen network.

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    DivX for Mac 7.0 Out the Door

    Posted by:
    Date: Tuesday, April 21st, 2009, 07:19
    Category: Software

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    DivX for Mac, the shareware player that allows users to view high definition H.264 (.mkv) videos with AAC audio and video, hit version 7.0 yesterday. The new version, a 23.2 megabyte download (courtesy of VersionTracker), allows for expanded playback of the .divx and the .avi formats on the Mac.
    The player requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later to install and run.

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    Additional Perks, Features Emerge in iPhone OS 3.0 Firmware Betas

    Posted by:
    Date: Monday, April 20th, 2009, 08:00
    Category: iPhone, iPod shuffle, Rumor, Software

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    Developers working with recent betas of Apple’s iPhone OS 3.0 software have uncovered some impressive new features such as changes to Safari’s user interface, new battery status indicators and notification preferences, as well as the advent of data detectors in certain apps.
    According to AppleInsider, the following changes have been the most prominent:
    Safari:
    Safari now allows the user to close out and clear all your open browser windows without having to first create a new blank page to get rid of the contents of the last active window.
    The iPhone OS 3.0 beta apparently allows the user to close out the lone remaining page. Once the “x” icon is triggered, the page disappears and a new blank page quickly slides into view.
    Battery Indicators:
    Improvements have apparently been made to the battery indicators, showing the remaining battery life left on your iPhone or iPod touch as a numerical percentage.
    Resource files contained within the new version of the device’s Springboard application include 22 new PNG files to facilitate this option. Half are numerical characters (and a “%” sign) in black typeface for representing healthy battery level percentages while the other half are in red typeface for when battery life falls bellow a certain threshold.
    Though this has yet to be confirmed, users will have the option of selecting how their battery status indicator appears in the menubar — such as an icon-only view (per current versions of the software), an icon + numerical view, or a numerical-view only.
    Push Notification preferences:
    A new Push Notifications preference pane allows users to enable or disable any of the three types of notifications that third party applications can push to your handset: Sounds, Alerts and Badges. Alternatively, notifications can be disabled as a whole.
    Data Detectors:
    Apple has enabled Data Detectors for several new applications. Data Detectors automatically detect text fragments like email addresses, phone numbers, and street addresses and allow users to execute actions on those fragments via touch selections — like dialing a phone number automatically by clicking on it or adding it to your address book.
    Finally, the iPhone OS 3.0 beta firmware apparently also allows users to change scrubbing speeds in the iPod application.
    “You press and hold on the little dot to scrub and slide your finger down the screen to get finer scrubbing speeds,” a person familiar with the software said. “There are four options: Hi-Speed Scrubbing (normal slide position), Half Speed Scrubbing, Quarter Speed Scrubbing and Fine Scrubbing (furthest down the screen).”

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    TechTool Pro 5.0.4 Released

    Posted by:
    Date: Monday, April 20th, 2009, 07:59
    Category: Software

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    Over the weekend, Micromat released version 5.0.4 of TechTool Pro, its best-selling utility software for the Mac. The new version offers features and changes such as the eDrive, which allows users to create an emergency startup partition that includes TechTool Pro on one of your hard drives without the need to reinitialize your hard drive.
    Note: Users can download the version 5.0.3 updater here (courtesy of MacUpdate) but will need to use the software’s built-in update feature to access version 5.0.4.
    TechTool Pro 5.0.4 retails for US$98 and requires a Mac with a G4, G5 or Intel-based processor running Mac OS X 10.4.8 or later to install and run.

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    Tweetie for Mac Coming Soon!

    Posted by:
    Date: Friday, April 17th, 2009, 18:15
    Category: Software

    Who would have thought such a simple thing would become such a huge phenomenon? In a matter of months, it seems like Twitter has become a household name and “the next big thing”? You know it must be big, even Oprah is on Twitter now. News even broke that Ashton Kutcher beat out CNN to be the first to reach 1 million followers, as reported by PCWorld. Twitter is even being used to report the news, gaining popular exposure earlier this year for being used to document a Denver plane crash.
    As an avid Twitter user myself (I have four accounts), it took me a while to find the perfect Twitter client on the iPhone for my needs. After trying out several, the winner, hands-down, turned out to be Tweetie.
    Lately, I have been faced with the same dilemma for managing Twitter on the Desktop. There are variations for every workflow, from the simplicity of Twangle and Twitterific, to more full-featured clients that manage several different types of social networks such as Seesmic Desktop and TweetDeck. I’ve been trying them all. A recent favorite is Nambu.
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    About a week ago from behind a curtain came the announcement from Loren Brichter, developer of Tweetie for the iPhone, that a Desktop client for the Mac was in development. Yesterday, a preview of the new software was showcased in a screencast.
    WOW! I expected something good since I am a cheerleader for the iPhone version, but Tweetie for Mac pulls out all the stops. From the features, to the cool, GUI animations, this looks like a real Mac application that is as much fun to watch as to use. I really hope it has multiple account support and hooks into some other social networks, but I already can’t wait for it’s release on Monday to try it out. I may have found my default desktop Twitter app.

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    Verizon CEO Claims iPhone Deal More Likely with 4G Network in Place

    Posted by:
    Date: Friday, April 17th, 2009, 07:20
    Category: iPhone

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    Even though Verizon snubbed Apple when iPhone wireless carriers were initially being chosen, Verizon’s chief executive Ivan Seidenberg has now stated that the chances of an iPhone on the company’s network will be improved once 4G technology is in place.
    The CEO explained to the Wall Street Journal on Thursday that Apple is ‘more likely’ to want to work with Verizon due to the wider distribution of the 4G standard it will use to supplement, and eventually replace, its 3G network.
    Per Seidenberg, Apple was never likely to create an iPhone handset suitable to Verizon’s existing network due to the company’s choice of CDMA standards. While CDMA and its matching EVDO data format are very popular among carriers in North America and are shared with Alltel, Bell, Sprint and Telus (among others), the standards have very little reach outside of the continent. Choosing CDMA may have forced Apple to make a second iPhone model just to accommodate the rest of the world, which has settled on the more popular GSM and HSPA protocols.
    This problem disappears with Verizon’s move towards Long Term Evolution (LTE) for 4G. Unlike the artificial split between North America and the rest of the world today, a large number of both domestic and international carriers plan to move to LTE within the next few years, including AT&T and T-Mobile USA.
    Seidenberg has claimed that the network may or may not be the sticking point and the discussion remains up for debate. Verizon is believed to have snubbed Apple early on when the handset was initially being developed. Just after the introduction of the first iPhone, the carrier spun its apparent loss by claiming that Apple wanted too much control over sales and service. Observers have also speculated that Verizon objected to being denied a chance to customize the interface and choose which features to allow.

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    Drive Genius 2.1.1 Released

    Posted by:
    Date: Thursday, April 16th, 2009, 13:35
    Category: Software

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    Prosoft Engineering has released Drive Genius 2.1.1, an updated version of its drive repair and recovery program for Mac OS X.
    The new version, a 23.3 megabyte download, offers the following fixes and features:

  • Enhanced Duplicate tool has an option to verify the destination of whole-drive copies. In addition, source bad blocks can be skipped if found during a whole-drive copy.
  • Increased performance and reliability of Defrag.
  • Bug Fix: spurious “test aborted by disk” S.M.A.R.T. warnings in 10.5.x
  • Bug Fix: after shredding a volume, a new volume would always be created as “Untitled” instead of using the previous volume name.
  • Bug Fix: the tooltip displayed for duplicate files in DriveSlim contained an invalid path to the original file when displaying results from the boot volume.
  • Bug Fix: crash during launch if information about installed languages could not be obtained (10.4.x/PPC only).
  • Bug Fix: Adobe and Microsoft application updates would fail if language bundles were removed or their binaries trimmed; these are now excluded from the DriveSlimsearch results.
  • Other bug fixes.
  • Drive Genius retails for US$99 and requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later installed to work. The application is a Universal Binary and functions natively under both PowerPC and Intel-based hardware.

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