Category: News


A Genius has died

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It is with great sadness that we must report that Steve Jobs has passed away. It was not long ago that he stepped down from Apple after a career that anyone could be proud of. Unfortunately, his career was cut short after several battles with different medical issues that forced him to eventually step down as CEO. Apple has issued the following statement:

We are deeply saddened to announce that Steve Jobs passed away today.

Steve’s brilliance, passion and energy were the source of countless innovations that enrich and improve all of our lives. The world is immeasurably better because of Steve.

His greatest love was for his wife, Laurene, and his family. Our hearts go out to them and to all who were touched by his extraordinary gifts.

No matter if you never owned a single Apple product or bought each new product the company came out, the entire industry benefited from his bold style and even more ambitious plans. Steve Jobs’ not only saved a company from the brink of bankruptcy but he turned that company into the most valuable company in the World. He is a leader that anyone can admire, a true visionary of our time.

Flags today were flying at half mast at Apple HQ, in tribute to Steve. Tim Cook said today that “No words could adequately express our sadness at Steve Jobs’ death.”

“I want to put a ding in the universe” – Steve Jobs 1955-2011

Thanks: Neowin

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Samsung has got something up its sleeve in terms of upcoming products and it plans to talk about them publicly in a couple of weeks. Thisismynext.com, along with other media outlets, have been sent invites to attend a Samsung press event in San Diego on October 11. But the smartphone company won’t be alone. Samsung is promoting this event as a joint operation with Google, with the invite saying specifically that the press will “get a look at what’s new from Android” during the press conference.

That’s certainly a big clue that the event might be the place and time for the official unveiling of a Samsung made smartphone that will have Google’s next version of the popular Android mobile operating system inside. Android 4.0, otherwise known as Ice Cream Sandwich, has been the source of much speculation, along with some screenshot leaks. This week a video made its way to the Internet that supposedly showed Android 4.0 in action. So far Google has been pretty silent, at least in public, about the details of Android 4.0, saying only that it would launch sometime in October or November.

It’s likely that the press event will show an upcoming Samsung smartphone that Android 4.0 will be running on. Internet rumors have been flying about this mystery phone over the past couple of months. Even the actual name of the phone is under dispute with some calling it the Nexus Prime, others labeling it the Droid Prime and still other rumors naming it the Galaxy Nexus phone.

Thanks: Neowin

iPhone 5 press event to be held October 4

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Are you ready for yet another iPhone 5 rumor story? This newest note comes from the Wall Street Journal’s AllThingsD.com web site. It claims via unnamed sources that Apple will hold its press event to introduce the next version of its best selling smartphone on October 4 with the actual launch of the iPhone 5 due a few weeks later. The story also claims that new Apple CEO Tim Cook will be leading the press event. If true, it will be the first time that Cook will take charge of one of Apple’s media events since Apple founder Steve Jobs stepped down from his CEO position earlier this summer. The article does speculate that Jobs himself might show up, if his current health issues allow him to do so.

Speculation about the launch of the iPhone 5 has been the single biggest topic for the tech industry for months and indeed there have been a ton of stories and rumors about the iPhone 5’s release date, some based purely on speculation and other based on leaked memos and notes. More recently the rumor mill had the iPhone 5 being announced on October 5 and October 7.

Many people also believe that Apple will also launch a new and cheaper version of the current iPhone 4 during the iPhone 5 press event. Apple might also announce its annual refresh of its iPod media player library during the same press event. So far there has been far less advance rumors about what the new iPods might be like.

Thanks: Neowin

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When Google+ launched a few months ago, I got in relatively quickly and liked what I saw. I believed the social network would make a great challenger to the likes of Facebook and Twitter, mainly because of Google’s enormous existing audience (I still do, provided the company plays its cards right).

It’s now been a while since I’ve last visited or posted anything on Google+, but I figured that was just me.

Turns out I might not be the only one after all, 89n now says,based on some quick-and-dirty internal ManageFlitter data research.

According to its data, the average number of public –i.e. not private –Google+ posts per day has decreased from 0.68 per day between 19 July 2011 and 19 August 2011 to 0.40 public posts per day between 19 August 2011 and 14 September 2011.

This represents a decrease of 41 percent, which could lead one to believe the early adopters are quietly turning their backs on Google+. (Someone inform Scoble!)

Note that this perceived behavior occurs despite the recent roll-out of enhanced Google +1 button functionality,a Twitter-like ‘suggested user’ list and verified profiles.

89n says 7,280 people have linked their Google+ accounts to Twitter using its ManageFlitter service to date. The company says it checks these accounts for new public posts every 10 minutes.

Now, 89n isn’t exactly a research firm, and they offer little insight into their methodology for gathering and interpreting the data. I asked them to clarify, but in the meantime, how many of you have tried Google+ early on and find themselves not returning to post as much as in the beginning?

Update: yes, I know the data doesn’t cover private posting, which for all I know is up significantly. Nobody’s saying Google+ is dead, I’m simply asking if you find it to be true that public posting is declining, which 89n’s data suggests. Relax a little.

Thanks: Techcrunch

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Technological advancements have caused the increased use of wireless phones and WiFi for Internet connections. But a few people believe that all of those wireless signals in the air can affect their health. It’s a condition called Electromagnetic Hypersensitivity and about 5 percent of US citizens believe they feel the effects associated with this condition. However, it’s also a condition that most medical doctors simply don’t believe exists.

That hasn’t stopped certain people from trying to escape from all wireless phone, WiFi or indeed all electromagnetic signals. The BBC web site reports that many of them in the US have moved to the tiny town of Green Bank, West Virginia. It’s been designated as a US Radio Quiet Zone due to the fact that a number of radio telescopes used by astronomers and the military are in use in the area. This zone is now the new home for dozens of people who are afraid of the health effects of wireless and electromagnetic signals. One of the people profiled in the article is Diane Schou, who blames signals from a mobile phone antenna in her former home in Iowa for a variety of health problems. She claims that moving to Green Bank has been helpful for her health, saying, “Here in Green Bank allows me to be with people. People here do not carry cell phones so I can socialize.”

But are all of these people just misdiagnosing themselves? Bob Park, a physics professor at the University of Maryland, says that WiFi signals are just not strong enough to cause people to become sick. He states, “The bigger problem that we face is that in our society, driven by technological change, people have very little education. There are lots of things people need to learn and they’re not learning it. The thing that’s going to kill them is ignorance.”

Thanks: Neowin

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We received a tip that claims that the next version of Android after Ice Cream Sandwich could be called Jelly Bean. Unfortunately, there is no information as to what version number Google might give this update, and we still don’t know what the official version number will be for the previously-announced Ice Cream Sandwich when it is released.

The Jelly Bean name would fit in line with Google’s convention of naming versions of Android after alphabetically sequential desserts. The publicly released versions of Android have been known as Cupcake (1.5), Donut (1.6), Eclair (2.0 and 2.1), Froyo (2.2), Gingerbread (2.3), and Honeycomb (3.0, 3.1, and 3.2). Ice Cream Sandwich was announced back at Google IO as the name of the next version to be released, though Google has yet to reveal a version number for it.

Another source says that while Jelly Bean is in contention for a name, it has not been finalized by Google as of yet. Of course, there aren’t many choices when it comes to desserts that begin with the letter “j”,so Jelly Bean could be a solid contender.

Google’s chairman Eric Schmidt hinted recently that the Ice Cream Sandwich version of Android could make its debut in October or November of this year, but there is no timeline to estimate for the version after that.

Thanks: Mobile Run

A few days after Google was caught registering a bunch of Dart-related domain names, and the inevitable storm of speculation, it has now emerged that Dart is a new programming language for “structured web programming.”

On October 10, during the keynote speech of the Goto conference in Aarhus, Denmark, two Google developers will unveil the new language. We can only infer Dart’s characteristics and feature set until then, but fortunately the Goto conference website gives us some very detailed biographies about the Googlers who are delivering the keynote, and who are presumably the language’s creators. Gilad Bracha, a veteran of SAP, Sun, and the co-author of Java is one of the speakers — and Lars Bak, the creator of Chrome’s V8 JavaScript engine, is the other.

Now, Google has already released one language in recent history — Go — so we can assume that Dart won’t be a C-like system-oriented language. With the “structured web programming” moniker, it’s also likely to be some kind of interpreted, in-the-browser language — so more like JavaScript or Python, and less like Java or other compiled languages. One of the biggest hints, though, is that both Bracha and Bak have worked extensively withSmalltalk in the past — and an interpreted Smalltalkesque language would fit right into the “structured web programming” mold, too.

The problem with a new web-oriented programming language, though, is that there are already a ton of viable and well-supported languages out there. Dart, if it is indeed an interpreted Smalltalk, would compete almost directly with JavaScript and Python, the latter of which is one of Google’s most popular languages. If use Go as a yardstick, though, Dart will probably be more of a curio than a groundbreaker — a language that is designed to explicitly solve Googlecentric issues, rather than an endemic programming language issue — and who knows, outsiders might find a use for the language, too.

Thanks: Extreme Tech

 

Google to shut down 10 of its products

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Google has been shutting down some some of its products and divisions over the past few months, including most recently the Slide social apps division. Today the company announced plans to shut down 10 more of its products over the coming weeks and months. Some of these products will be merged with other existing Google divisions. Google’s Senior Vice President Alan Eustace writes, “This will make things much simpler for our users, improving the overall Google experience. It will also mean we can devote more resources to high impact products —the ones that improve the lives of billions of people.” The people who worked on the 10 discontinued products will be transferred to other divisions at the company.

One of the more well known products that will soon be shut down is Google Desktop, which launched in a beta version in 2004. The application allows users to search for items inside a person’s PC. Google has chosen to discontinue Google Desktop on September 14 “including all the associated APIs, services, plugins, gadgets and support.” A product on the list that has already shut down is Google Pack, which offered a collection of first and third party downloadable software tools in one package. Google said today that with the move to have applications offered online via cloud-based technology there was also a “declining interest in downloadable software.”

Other projects that Google will shut down or merge will other projects include the social search program Aardvark, Google Web Security, Google Notebook, Fast Flip, Sidewiki, Subscribed Links, Image Labeler, and Google Maps API for Flash.

Thanks: Neowin

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Apple is getting closer to launching its highly anticipated iCloud online service. This week the company announced that it is offering its developers a chance to try out the upcoming iTunes Match feature and, as AppleInsider reports, this beta also allows those same developers to try out the iCloud streaming music feature for the first time. The added features are included in the latest beta (6.1) for iTunes under the iOS 5 beta release

The iCloud streaming service still has some kinks to work out with one unnamed developer is quoted as saying it is “still really buggy”. However the developer was able to use the iTunes 6.1 beta to stream music from iTunes Match on an iPad 2 device. iTunes Match is designed for people who have songs on their iTunes library of tracks that they have ripped from CDs and not directly from iTunes. The service can check to see if those CD tracks have a match with a track on iTunes and if it does iTunes Match provides the user with a license for those tracks.

The user must be a paid subscriber to iTunes Match in order to take advantage of the service. However, News.com reports that developers testing out the beta version have access to iTunes Match for free along with three free months when the service goes live. The general public will have to pay $24.99 a year to use iTunes Match when it does become available. The service will cover 25,000 CD tracks in an iTunes user’s library.

Thanks: Neowin

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Strangely buried inside of an article about Tim Cook’s new challenges at Apple, the Wall Street Journal makes a casual mention that Apple is working on a “new technology to deliver video to televisions,” as well as mulling over the idea to “launch a subscription TV service.” No sources are named, but as usual, the WSJ has “people familiar with the matter” on hand to deliver the goods.

We’ve heard rumors for some time that Apple has been dabbling in TV tech, and certainly the latest iteration of the Apple TV and its new iCloud-powered features could be construed as an indication that something is afoot, but the way the Journal couches this, it seems that there may be something completely new on the horizon.

Something cable providers are going to absolutely hate.

The article goes on to suggest that Apple would like in some way to “reinvent” the way consumers pay for and watch television (as the company did with music through iTunes), though only analyst quotes are used to back up the broad statements.

We’re digging for more info at the moment, but the Wall Street Journal has this odd habit of often being right when it comes to internal matters at Apple. Still, given that much of this article relies on analysts —notoriously fallible sources of information —it’s best to proceed with caution.

Thanks: WSJ