DigitalOutbox Episode 114

DigitalOutbox Episode 114
In this episode the team discuss Project Glass, Privacy and Apple woes

Playback
Listen via iTunes
Listen via M4A
Listen via MP3

Shownotes
0:58 – Girls Around Me
– When you load it up, the first thing Girls Around Me does is figure out where you are and load up a Google Map centered around your location.
– It’s when you push the radar button that Girls Around Me does what it says on the tin. I pressed the button for my friends. Immediately, Girls Around Me went into radar mode, and after just a few seconds, the map around us was filled with pictures of girls who were in the neighborhood. Since I was showing off the app on a Saturday night, there were dozens of girls out on the town in our local area.
– These are all girls with publicly visible Facebook profiles who have checked into these locations recently using Foursquare. Girls Around Me then shows you a map where all the girls in your area trackable by Foursquare area. If there’s more than one girl at a location, you see the number of girls there in a red bubble. Click on that, and you can see pictures of all the girls who are at that location at any given time. The pictures you are seeing are their social network profile pictures.”
– Tap on a girl – Girls Around Me quickly loaded up a fullscreen render of her Facebook profile picture. The app then told me where Zoe had last been seen (The Independent) and when (15 minutes ago). A big green button at the bottom reading “Photos & Messaging” just begged to be tapped, and when I did, I was whisked away to Zoe’s Facebook profile.
“Okay, so here’s Zoe. Most of her information is visible, so I now know her full name. I can see at a glance that she’s single, that she is 24, that she went to Stoneham High School and Bunker Hill Community College, that she likes to travel, that her favorite book is Gone With The Wind and her favorite musician is Tori Amos, and that she’s a liberal. I can see the names of her family and friends. I can see her birthday.”
– While the app is bad, this is a wake up call for privacy on social sites
– Data was publicly shared by these girls – du to Foursquare and Facebook allowing friends to sign them in, they might not realise that their friends are sharing their location
– Lot’s of fallout – Foursquare suspended the app’s API access
– Apple then withdrew the app from the app store – actually the app developers did, not because of the -ve publicity but due to the API restrictions. The app no longer worked.
– Developer defends app – it was about venue discovery, not girl discovery – http://blogs.wsj.com/digits/2012/03/31/girls-around-me-developer-defends-app-after-foursquare-dismissal/
4:02 – Govt plans increased email and social media surveillance
– Ministers are to introduce a new law allowing police and security services to extend their monitoring of the public’s email and social media communications, the Home Office has confirmed.
– It is expected that the new system will allow security officials to scrutinise who is talking to whom and exactly when the conversations are taking plac, but not the content of messages.
– Labour tried to introduce a similar system using a central database tracking all phone, text, email and internet use but that was ditched in 2009. It followed concerns raised by internet service providers and mobile phone operators over the project’s feasibility, and anxieties over who would foot the bill.
– The coalition’s proposals are likely to be introduced in the Queen’s speech on 9 May and will centre on internet service providers gathering the information and allowing government intelligence operatives to scrutinise it.
– “It is vital that police and security services are able to obtain communications data in certain circumstances to investigate serious crime and terrorism and to protect the public,” said a Home Office spokesman, who said the plans would be brought forward “as soon as parliamentary time allows”.
– Internet service providers are obliged to keep details of users’ web access, email and internet phone calls for 12 months, under an EU directive from 2009.
– Although the content of the calls is not kept, the sender, recipient, time of communication and geographical location does have to be recorded.
– The proposed new law – which the Home Office says will be brought in “as soon as parliamentary time allows” – would extend those requirements to social networking sites and internet phone services such as Skype.
– It would also reportedly allow intelligence officers to access emails, calls and texts as they happen, without a warrant, rather than retrospectively.
– Overzealous civil servants driving policy?
– Lib dem briefing doc – https://docs.google.com/file/d/1_wMtlFHrktpyOEFSkRSmBnOBPYDkPF6y-gL7Es_h0tu58aPVeHq9p45ulRcX/view?sle=true&pli=1
– Also, Gove fought to keep his e-mails private in early March
– http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-17235168
– *** How would this work in practice? What about data that is held on servers overseas? Surely that can’t be part of this?
10:02 – Twitter suing spammers
– Twitter is officially putting its foot down and enlisting the help of the federal courts, filing a suit in San Francisco today against its five most aggressive spammers. In pursuing legal action, Twittersaid in a statement on its blog, it believes it’s going “straight to the source”.
– By shutting down tool providers, we will prevent other spammers from having these services at their disposal. Further, we hope the suit acts as a deterrent to other spammers, demonstrating the strength of our commitment to keep them off Twitter … While this is an important step, our efforts to combat spam don’t stop here. Our engineering team continues to implement robust technical solutions that help us proactively reduce spam.
– Finally doing something about spam?
– Annoying thing is a spammer is so obvious – why is it down to users to report?
13:29 – Game rescued
– The administrators of Game Group have announced that the 333 of its UK shops that are still open have been sold to OpCapita.
– The agreement will safeguard the jobs of nearly 3,200 Game Group employees. A small number from head office who were previously made redundant may also be re-employed.
– OpCapita is a private investment firm specialising in retail. It has set up a company called Baker Acquisitions to buy the shops.
– Former Halfords Group chief executive David Hamid, now a partner at OpCapita, has been appointed chairman of Game. A chief executive is expected to be named shortly. Ian Shepherd held the role until last week, when he resigned with immediate effect after a two-year battle to turn the company around.
– OpCapita acquired electrical retailer Comet from its owner Kesa Electricals last year for a nominal sum of £2. The financial terms of its Game acquisition have not been disclosed, but it is thought to have paid a nominal sum and taken on the company’s debts.
15:07 – Foxconn audit
– A report into working conditions at Chinese factories operated by anApple supplier has revealed “serious” labour violations, including excessive hours, unpaid wages and major health and safety risks.
– The Fair Labor Association (FLA) said employees at Foxconn, which produces products including iPhones and iPads, typically worked more than 60 hours a week during peak periods but were paid unfair compensation for overtime.
– Around two-thirds of workers told investigators that their take-home pay was insufficient to meet basic needs.
– In addition, 43% said they had witnessed an accident at work, leading to fears of poor safety provisions at the plants.
– The (FLA) was asked by Apple to investigate working conditions at Foxconn after reports of long hours and poor safety.
– The FLA says it has now secured agreements to reduce hours, protect pay, and improve staff representation.
– Apple said it “fully accepted” the report’s recommendations. “We share the FLA’s goal of improving lives and raising the bar for manufacturing companies everywhere,” it said in a statement.
– Of course, some employees aren’t happy with the reduction in money:
-“We are here to work and not to play, so our income is very important,” said Chen Yamei, 25, a Foxconn worker from Hunan who said she had worked at the factory for four years.
“We have just been told that we can only work a maximum of 36 hours a month of overtime. I tell you, a lot of us are unhappy with this. We think that 60 hours of overtime a month would be reasonable and that 36 hours would be too little,” she added. Chen said she now earned a bit over 4,000 yuan a month ($634).
17:58 – iPad Wifi Issues
– Besides the supposed third-generation iPad charging and overheating issues, the iPad WiFi issues were noted by the media during the past couple of weeks. Apple has taken notice and has admitted internally to some new iPad models having the WiFi issues described in numerous reports and on forum threads. The company says “symptoms can include, but are not limited to: intermittent connectivity, slow WiFi speeds, and WiFi network not seen.”

– Apple tells AppleCare employees to ensure that devices they test are not facing these issues due to normal software bugs, but instead because of the actual hardware components.
WiFi-only third-generation iPads are the only devices affected by these issues, according to Apple. The 4G LTE models are presumably safe from these issues due to the extra network power allowed by the black rubber cut on the top of the unit.
19:44 – Mac trojan affects 600000
– Apple released a Java 1.6.0_31 update for OS X on Tuesday that claims to deliver “improved compatibility, security, and reliability.” The patch closes multiple vulnerabilities found in Java 1.6.0_29, the most serious of which allows malicious code to be executed just by visiting a compromised website. The update is available from Software Update on any Mac running Mac OS X v10.6.8, Mac OS X Server v10.6.8, OS X Lion v10.7.3, or Lion Server v10.7.3.
– Russian security firm Doctor Web claims that attackers began to exploit the Java vulnerability on March 16th which Apple closed with the release of the Java update on April 3rd. Dr. Web now estimates that about 600,000 Macs, most of which reside in the US (55 percent) and Canada (19.8 percent), are now infected members of the Flashbackbotnet. The company also notes that some four million compromised web-pages could be found in Google search results at the end of March with some users claiming infection by visiting sites as mainstream as dlink.com.
– Security company F-Secure has instructions for detecting and deleting the Flashback botnet on infected computers.
22:47 – Project Glass
– Glasses not for sale but Google has begun public testing of it’s augmented reality glasses
– The prototype version Google showed off on Wednesday looked like a very polished and well-designed pair of wrap-around glasses with a clear display that sits above the eye. The glasses can stream information to the lenses and allow the wearer to send and receive messages through voice commands. There is also a built-in camera to record video and take pictures.
– This is the future…or is it?
– On sale this year – Google says unlikely
28:06 – HTC One X and S Launched
– O2, Vodafone, Three, Orange, and T-Mobile are all taking orders for the brand new One X and One S Android 4.0 smartphones from HTC. As usual, Three will give you the most for your money, though O2’s new On & On tariff — which the company describes as its best ever — is also worth a look, costing you £36 per month over a two-year contract, but also giving you unlimited minutes and the One X for no upfront cost. Should you be more inclined to buy the handset by itself, Amazon will sell you an unlocked and SIM-free One X for £489.99
– The One X got some great reviews – best phone you can buy today – http://www.theverge.com/2012/4/2/2919202/htc-one-x-review
29:35 – Instagram launches for Android
– The app adds creative, nostalgic filters to your pictures and makes sharing them easy (almost addictive).
– You can add effects to a picture you take with your front or back camera or choose a picture from your gallery. There are a number of custom filters and borders to choose from, including several ’70s effects and a black and white effect. Instantly upload the photo to your Instagram account and share it if you please to Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and Foursquare; Flickr is in the works.
– 1 million downloads in a day
– Hated the snobs on twitter – oh no – now I need to see android users photos on instagram
– Now I need to see photos from poor people
31:13 – Olympics Overload
– The BBC will make 24-HD quality live Olympic streams available to cable and satellite providers for the duration of the Olympics Games
– Viewers will be able to watch every Olympic sport, live from every venue, via tools such as Sky EPG and BBC Red Button. Virgin Media and Freesat customers will also have access. This complements previously confirmed plans for 24 simultaneous streams live online on the BBC Sport website.
– 48 new channels will be added to the Sports section of Sky’s EPG from July 24. The channels are free-to-air and available to any Sky home. The HD channels are available on any Sky+HD box and do not require a subscription, but do require an HD ready TV.
– Freesat viewers and Freesat standard definition viewers will also have access to the streams.
33:39 – Virgin throttles all users
– Virgin Media has introduced new throttling “trigger levels” for customers who make heavy use of its network.
– The telco updated its subscriber traffic management (STM) policy yesterday to “ensure the vast majority of customers get the high quality of service they expect from Virgin Media’s fibre optic broadband without being negatively affected by extremely heavy users” at peak times.
– It classified a so-called “bandwidth hog” as a 60Mbit/s customer, for example, who can download 5,000MB of data between 4pm and 9pm on a weekday before having their broadband connection throttled.
– A company spokesman told The Register that around 5 per cent of users would be affected by the STM policy. Those punters can expect to see their speed usage of the network temporarily throttled by 50 per cent.
36:03 – 0x10c
– Next game from Minecraft creator Notch
– Space game

Picks
Ian
Hero Academy
– RPG’ish battle between friends
– Like mini chess
– Seems simple but has real depth due to different factions, characters, powers and upgrades
– Multiplayer – play quickly or over a few days like words with friends
– Now universal – lovely lovely graphics
– Free, but in app purchases to unlock other classes

Moom

OS X is perfect. Honest.

I’m joking of course but until Windows 7 came along there was a perceived wisdom that OS X windows management was pretty untouchable and need little or no improvement. In fact I might have mentioned once or twice my love of Expose and how it made using a Mac wonderful compared to Windows. While true, Microsoft really stepped up with Windows 7 and introduced some brand new ways of managing windows particularly around their size and position.

Mission Control on the Mac - nice but can be improved

Windows 7 release spawned a number of window management utilities for the Mac. It was hard to keep up with what each tool did and which one actually offered the best features but after a few months of trying various options I’ve settled on Moom from Many Tricks. Moom, so named for those that move and zoom a lot is a $5 app that add’s a lot of functionality. Once installed Moom offers a variety of window management options and one new feature in particular which is very handy.

You access Moom via the keyboard or more commonly by hovering over the green zoom button at the top left of any windows on OS X. Out of the box you can select one of the icons at the top of the Moom window to easily fill the current window to full screen or the top/bottom half of the screen or the left/right half. Most of the time though you want slightly more control. In the grid below the four screen icons you can draw a window size and when you let the mouse go the current window will not only size to what you have just drawn but also pop to that position on the screen. This makes it really easy to deal with lot’s of windows that you want to size quickly.

Drawing the window size in Moom

Dragging the half width/height icons a few pixels—instead of clicking allows you to size windows to quarter size instead of half. While I don’t have a second monitor, Moom also supports easy movement to a second or third monitor while also moving and sizing the window. However you can customise Moom so that your own sizing options are displayed.

Moom's custom controls

You can setup common window sizes and these can be called up via the custom control dropdown as in the above screenshot or via a custom keyboard shortcut. This really gives you easy window management but one new feature added recently is Window Layouts. You organise your window size and positions and save that layout in Moom. Then when you have the applications opened you can easily select the layout and Moom will organise and resize the windows as per your saved layout. I find this really handy for image editing and also for recording the podcast – so easy to get the same repeated window layout quickly without faffing around sizing individual windows. Take a look at this video for a quick demonstration.

So thats Moom. For $5 it’s a bargain. One thing to note is that it’s available on both the Mac App store and from Many Tricks direct. I chose to purchase directly rather than App Store as I’m unsure on the sandboxing proposals from Apple as I can see it restricting app’s like Moom in the future. I might be wrong, but thought it worth mentioning. If you use a lot of app’s day to day on your Mac I really do recommend Moom – it makes managing windows a lot easier.

f.lux

F.lux is an app for Windows, Mac and Linux that does a simple but important task – it help’s your eyes. Many modern displays are bright but you don’t really notice how bright they are during the day partly as they’ve been designed to operate well in those brighter conditions. At night it’s a different story and the brightness can really strain your eye’s if your not careful.

The shot above is from my current Mac desktop. It’s fine during the day but the whites at night even with lights on are bright. This is where f.lux helps. It sits quietly in the background and will set the colour temperature of your screen to match your lights. It detects your location and will automatically switch to the new colour temperature at the right time.

At first it feels strange when you see the colour temperature changing but I find it really eases the strain on my eyes although I will admit it does look odd when you see the screenshot above of f.lux in aciton. You can easily switch to different temperatures to match your environment and I also set f.lux to dim gradually over an hour. Makes a big difference to the effectiveness in my opinion. Finally there is an option to temporarily disable f.lux to allow you to work on any graphics or photography too.

A handy free utility that isn’t new but will be a must install on any future computers I own.

DigitalOutbox Episode 91

DigitalOutbox Episode 91
In this episode the team discuss Lion, Quarterly Numbers and the new Macbook Air and Mac Mini’s.

Playback
Listen via iTunes
Listen via M4A
Listen via MP3

Shownotes
2:11 – The Hackers Get Hacked
– Looks like hacker group LulzSec is back in action, this time redirecting the homepage of the Murdoch-owned The Sun (http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/) to a fake story about Murdoch’s death from a drug overdose located on the Murdoch-owned URL used to broadcast theLondon Times’ redesign http://www.new-times.co.uk/sun. After the amount of requests caused a 404 failure on the Times site, the group then redirected The Sun’s homepage to the @LuzSecTwitter account. (The original page is archived at http://freze.it/pX)
– From what I can see the fake story was meant to mirror an actual The Sun story about the latest development in the messy Murdoch/New Corp/News of the World scandal, “Ex News of the World journalist found dead.” After about 10 minutes of being up (and I swear the real Sun homepage was redirecting) the fake story was pulled from the UK Times site.
– E-mails also grabbed
5:13 – Apple Earnings
– Cupertino just reported its best quarter ever, with earnings of $7.79 per share, revenue totaling $28.57 billion, and a net profit of $7.31 billion. We know you’re probably more interested in sales figures, however, and as you might expect, Apple’s continued to ship iPhones and iPads at a steady pace, with 20.34 million smartphones and 9.25 million tablets sold last quarter. It’s also shipped 3.95 million Macs — a 14 percent jump over Q3 2010’s numbers. Fewer iPods made it out the door this quarter, however, totaling 7.54 million compared to the 9.41 million Apple sold in Q3 2010.
7:26 – Google Earnings
– “We had a great quarter, with revenue up 32% year on year for a record breaking over $9 billion of revenue,” said Larry Page, CEO of Google. “I’m super excited about the amazing response to Google+ which lets you share just like in real life.”
– £3.5 billion in profit
– 550,000 android activations per day
13:30 – Microsoft Earnings
– The US technology giant Microsoft said its annual revenues hit a record of $69.94bn (£43.4bn).
– Sales of the company’s Xbox 360 videogame console and its Office software helped fuel the growth.
– Net income at the world’s biggest software maker jumped 23% to 23.15bn for the year.
– The figures, which beat forecasts, showed final quarter revenues reached a record high of $17.37bn, leading to profits of $5.87bn.
– Sales rose 8% to $17.37 billion, a boosted chiefly by sales of Office, Xbox and server software behind Microsoft’s push into cloud computing.
– Microsoft’s business division, which sells the Office suite of programs, including Outlook, SharePoint and Excel, was the company’s biggest seller in the quarter, increasing sales by 7% to $5.8bn.
– The company’s online services unit, which runs the Bing search engine and MSN internet portal, increased sales by 16.5% to $662m, but saw losses increase to $728m as it struggles to fight competitor Google.
– One weaker spot was sales of its widely-used Windows product, which are slowing as tablet PC sales eat into demand for traditional PCs.
16:43 – Nokia Earnings
– The Finnish phone-maker Nokia crashed to a loss for the second quarter as its smartphone and mobile business collapsed, leaving it in third place in the sector behind Samsung and Apple, and with no clear sign of any improvement in the short term.
Overall the company made a loss of €368m despite receiving a one-off payment of €430m from Apple to settle a long-running patent dispute. Revenues fell overall by 7% to €9.3bn.
– The company’s mobile revenue, normally the stalwart of its business, fell by 20% year on year to €5.47bn and made a loss of €247m, as the number of phones sold dropped by the same amount, to 88m – both figures not seen since 2006. Its existing Symbian smartphone business, which it has said that it will phase out in favour of phones using Microsoft Windows Phone from later this year, fell by 30% year on year to just 16.7m.
– The Navteq mapping and Nokia Siemens Network (NSN) businesses offered no comfort either, both racking up operating losses of €58m and €111m respectively, although sales at NSN were up by 20%.
20:11 – Lion
– Out for £21
– Digital download only
– Ian – speedier, like Mission Control, restore, versioning and some nice touches but overall a bit meh
– Ian – love Mail – hateful design choices on iCal and Address Book
– Ian – gestures is very nice, full screen turning to a Space is good…but OTT on a 27” iMac
– Ian – natural scrolling – disabled as use windows so much – too much adjustment
– August – available from Apple stores on USB stick
– http://www.apple.com/macosx/recovery/
– Lion has Recovery options and new Air and Mini can be recovered from the Internet
– iTunes 10.4 – 64 bit, Cocoa, Full screen
– iWork – updated to support full screen and versioning
– Xcode – 4.1 now free on the app store
37:19 – New Apple Hardware
– Airs – double the speed, more ram, better chip, backlit keyboard and thunderbolt – same price – lovely
– Mini – thunderbolt, better chip, no drive – cheaper – £650 down to £525
– White Macbook – dead
– The 27-inch Thunderbolt Display has an LED-backlit, 2560-by-1440 pixel, 16:9, in-plane switching (IPS) screen, which Apple says has a brightness of 375 cd/m2 and a 1000:1 contrast ratio. A single two-ended cable attaches to a Thunderbolt-equipped MacBook Pro or Air, one lead going to the notebook’s MagSafe power port, and the other to its Thunderbolt port.
-The display has three powered USB 2.0 ports, plus one FireWire 800 and one Gigabit Ethernet port, all connected to its Thunderbolty host – MacBook Pro or Air, Mac mini, or iMac – through that single Thunderbolt cable. The display also has its own Thunderbolt port so you can daisy-chain up to five more Thunderbolt devices
– The display also has Apple’s FaceTime HD camera – an upgrade from the earlier iSight camera – and a 2.1 speaker system with 49 watts of oomph. There’s also an ambient light sensor that’ll adjust display brightness based on the level of lighting in its surrounding environment.
– £900
44:40 – Apple updates International App Store Prices
– Apple update international pricing
– Uk – £0.59 is now £0.69
– Apple’s iWork apps now cost £13.99, up from £11.99, on the Mac App Store in the U.K., while the popular iOS versions have jumped from £5.99 to £6.99.
– Most rises around 10-15% – £1.19 per issue will now pay £1.49 – a 25 per cent price rise
– No warning – magazines running adverts caught out
– Lion price of £20.99 should have been a clue of impending changes in price points
– Certainly interesting that no pre-warning!
46:37 – HTC (Android) Infringes two Apple Patents
– ITC judge prelim judgement finds in favour of Apple – HTC infringes Apple in two areas…
– Decision needs ratifying by a panel.
– Will outcome be ban of product? Damages? Technology Licence?
– And now HTC are willing to negotiate with Apple
50:19 – Fake Apple Stores in China
– Fake stores, look real, sell real products
– Same branding, staff where same brands
– Staff even thought it was real
– Apple are aware…and China are now shutting them down.
51:52 – Illegal Film Downloads up 30% in UK
– The number of illegally downloaded films in the UK has gone up nearly 30% in five years, new figures suggest.
– That research, from internet consultancy firm Envisional, indicates that the top five box office movies were illegally downloaded in the UK a total of 1.4 million times last year.
– Film industry bosses say it is costing £170m every year and putting thousands of jobs at risk.
– But it’s not just illegal film downloading that’s on the rise – research suggests people are illegally downloading more TV shows too.
– The top five most popular shows were illegally downloaded a total of 1.24 million times in the UK last year. That’s a 33% increase from 2006 figures.
– Surely that just reflects the larger capacity broadband that we’re all now getting our hands on (well, some of us at least). Again – the end game is surely that better legit delivery methods need to be put in place. This takes time – so no doubt we’ll see more letters being sent in the mean-time.
53:15 – Cheaper broadband for rural users
– Up to 3m homes and businesses in rural parts of the UK could receive better value broadband services by the end of the year, following an Ofcom decision to force BT Wholesale to reduce the amount it charges other internet service providers (ISPs) to use its networks.
– The communications regulator has ruled that BT must reduce its charge to ISPs each year, by a rate of at least 12 percentage points below inflation. For example, if the RPI inflation rate is 5%, BT will have to cut its charges by 7%.
– The ruling is to take effect by mid-August 2011 and remain in force until 31 March 2014, and paves the way for cheaper broadband prices for millions of consumers and businesses in less densely populated areas across the UK.
– The rural areas set to benefit from the change include parts of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland as well as Norfolk, Yorkshire, Cumbria, Northumberland, the south-west of England and other areas. These are predominantly areas lacking in competition among ISPs.
55:12 – Govt releases more data
– Following their pledge and success of data released so far, Cameron has announced another set of data that will be published and available to public and devleopers
– NHS, Education (single portal to compare schools), Crime (more detailed local crime maps), Transport (rail data will be hot), Govt financial transactions – every spend above £500
57:11 – Google detects and warns on malware
– “Recently, we found some unusual search traffic while performing routine maintenance on one of our data centers. After collaborating with security engineers at several companies that were sending this modified traffic, we determined that the computers exhibiting this behavior were infected with a particular strain of malicious software, or “malware.” As a result of this discovery, today some people will see a prominent notification at the top of their Google web search results.”
– Windows malware only
58:43 – Google to kill labs
– Google just announced it is ending its Labs program, in an effort to focus more on its existing products, For many of Google’s hard-core or even medium-core users, certain labs features have become essential tools to personalize the apps to their needs.
– a Google spokesman said that Gmail Labs, Calendar Labs and other Labs will not be shut down, merely the Labs program that brought us such applications as Google Goggles and Google Reader. There are still cool affected apps, but it’s not the end of my personal world.
– 20% projects still exist though
1:00:42 – Think with Google
– The new online channel will feature each new issue of Google’s Think Quarterly along with Think Voices, which showcases the shared experiences and insights of marketing leaders, digital influencers and academics. The content is filled with bite-sized TED-like videos for inspiring ideas on topics like the latest in digital technology, the future of marketing and how to channel innovation to inspire your business decisions.
– add link to youtube channel

Picks
Henry
Halftone
– Halftone goes beyond typical “photo filter” apps to give images a unique, vintage style that makes them look like they came from an old comic strip.
– Easy to use
Comic Life
– Make comics on teh iPad
– Again easy to use with lots of effects that can be added to images

Ian
Conquist 2
– Great strategy game for the iPad
– Lots of singleplayer options – variations on Risk
– Now includes multiplayer

Alfred for Mac

Alfred for Mac has been available for nearly a year but I only recently tried it via the Mac App Store. It’s a productivity tool in the mould of the much loved Quicksilver and more recently Launchbar. Alfred can be used to quickly launch any application, find documents on your computer or quickly launch web shortcuts plus a whole lot more.

Alfred is still called a beta but it’s been rock solid so far in my usage. Downloading the free version from the App Store brings with it a host of functionality. Alfred is called via a keyboard shortcut which can be chosen by the user. I always use cmd+space for my launcher applications. So typing cmd+space opens the Alfred window and from there I can search for applications and files on my local machine or on the web. For example, type 1p and Alfred will start to list files matching the text 1p. As I’ve launched 1Password before, Alfred will present that as my favourite result.

If I don’t want to launch 1Password I can tap down through the returned results via he arrow keys or I can use cmd+number to open another file, contact etc. This allows for very quick searching and launching of applications and files. On a file or contact returned in Alfred I can press the right arrow key to conduct a series of actions – launch file, mail file, delete file etc. Alfred will never replace the finder for me but for seeking out a file to edit or mail on to a friend it’s far quicker than the default Mac tools. The free tool also comes with a calculator and spell checker as well as a variety of built in web searches. Type google searchterm and a Google search will be run for the given searchterm, opening in a new tab in your default browser. Custom searches can also be added so it’s easy to add a shortcut for Bing Images for example. As a free tool it’s great but there’s also a paid option for Alfred – the Alfred Powerpack.

The powerpack isn’t available via the App store as in app purchasing isn’t supported yet. Instead, buy the powerpack from the Alfred website for £12 and you unlock a far more feature rich tool. Fallback searching (if nothing is found then search via Google) is added plus the ability to e-mail form Alfred. However the bigger additions are iTunes and Clipboard extensions.

An iTunes mini player allows you to search and control iTunes not only selecting music and the usual play/pause controls but also rate music as well. A more useful feature is Clipboard History and Snippets. Launched via a separate shortcut or by typing snip within Alfred, the snippets extension will show you your clipboard history allowing you to easily copy old clipboard entries to application. Snippets allow you to setup a library of snippets for commonly entered text. I find that really useful for the podcast – I have path entries, twitter text, iTunes boilerplate text entered as snippets so I can paste them in when required.

Alfred is not only a very functional app but looks good with it as well. The original Quicksilver always looked great and although Launchbar is functionally more rich that both Quicksilver and Alfred, I find the performance of Alfred coupled with the better design to be much better (might be due to size of Launchbar index over time). If you already have Launchbar then the extra cost of paying for Alfred can’t be justified but if you’ve not tried a keyboard driven launcher before then fire up the App Store and try the free version of Alfred. I’m pretty confident that after a few days you’ll be paying for the powerpack version as the time saved over a few weeks is worth far more than £12.

DigitalOutbox Episode 73

DigitalOutbox Episode 73
In this episode the team discuss CES, App Stores and T-Mobile fail.

Playback
Listen via iTunes
Listen via M4A
Listen via MP3

Shownotes
1:28 – Microsoft CES
– Underwhelming
– Kinect selling 8 million devices in 60 days – beats 5 million prediction – big news
– Kinect avatars coming later this year
– Their best product in 10 years?
– Windows 7 Phone – doing great – if it was, why not release sales figures? Microsoft has sold 1.5m Windows Phone 7 handsets in 6 weeks
– They have got some good idea’s in that O/S – I like tiles, snap tiles form other app’s to front page
– 5500 app’s though is a worry – Flickr and Kindle coming though
– Windows 7 – doing great
– IE9 looks a great upgrade
– Hardware
– Acer – 2 14” touchscreens – touch keyboard appears
– Samsung slider – slide screen over keyboard – very nice
– Asus tablet – touch and stylus, wireless keyboard, i5 chip, coming March – http://www.engadget.com/2011/01/04/asus-eee-slate-ep121-officially-unveiled-ips-display-core-i5-a/
– Surface – now 4 inches…thin 🙂
– Every pixel is an infra red camera – no big camera’s anymore

– Next Windows – support Intel, AMD and ARM
– Two big deals however:
– The abandonment of Windows exclusivity by practically all of Microsoft’s OEM customers.
– The abandonment of Intel exclusivity by Microsoft for the next generation of Windows.
– End of PC era – John Gruber?
– No breakdown of markets – netbook, tablets, desktops – basically if it’s a market, it will have Windows is the take away?
8:22 – CES
– Android 3 – Honeycomb looks very different – http://googlemobile.blogspot.com/2011/01/sneak-peak-of-android-30-honeycomb.html
– GHz dual-core Tegra 2 will power this 10.1-incher, while 4G connectivity will be made available as an update in Q2 following a Q1 launch. Other specs include a 1280 x 800 resolution, 5 megapixel camera, 720p video recording and 1080p video playback, 802.11n WiFi, Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR, and finally, a healthy 32GB of onboard storage. The battery is rated to be capable of supporting 10 hours of video.
– HP – No tablet – Feb 9th for launch
– Asus Eee Pad MeMO – http://www.engadget.com/2011/01/04/asus-eee-pad-memo-tablet-takes-a-pen-out-of-the-couriers-book/
– Blackberry Playbook – http://gizmodo.com/5726902/money-shot-the-blackberry-playbook-tablet
– Needs Blackberry phone – You have to tether to your BlackBerry to get your calendar or email.
– Performance though is very very good
– 3d cameras – 3D TV’s haven’t sold, now 3D cameras?
– Star Wars on BluRay this September with 30 hours of extras
– Super fast phones – dual core chips – 1ghz coming soon
– Motorola Atrix 4G
– Tegra 2-powered handset the best phone at the show, it’s hands-down one of craziest products we’ve seen in quite a while. The handset itself is glorious with its 4-inch QHD display, front-facing cam, and fingerprint reader, but its 11.6-inch Laptop Dock and its Webtop operating system turn it into one unique beast
– Anything else?
– Apple dominate CES again without being there
– Mac App Store
– iPad 2 Rumours
– iPhone comes to Verizon…allegedly (confirmed…)
19:26 – BT Eroding Net Neutrality
– The telecoms company’s wholesale arm is starting to sell a new service that allows broadband providers – such as Virgin Media and Sky – to put video from paying clients, like the BBC’s iPlayer or Google’s YouTube, in an internet fast lane.
– BT’s new service, dubbed Content Connect, has provoked accusations of breaching the broad principles of “net neutrality”, whereby all content is delivered equally to internet users.
– Content Connect enables ISPs to store video within their own networks, closer to the user, as opposed to third-party companies – such as Akamai, which delivers the BBC’s iPlayer – caching popular content around the globe. By paying the ISP, rather than the third-party company, users could get a guaranteed delivery of service even at peak times.
– But it would also create a situation where companies that are unwilling – or unable – to pay would have their content delivered less efficiently to the end user.
– But BT today denied claims the new service will create a two-tier internet, saying that it “supports the concept” of net neutrality but believes that ISPs should be free to charge content owners for a “higher quality” delivery service.
– TalkTalk has also openly expressed a willingness to charge content companies for better delivery of their video to the nation’s homes, while Virgin Media manages time-sensitive traffic at peak times but does not prioritise one company’s content explicitly over another.
23:25 – Government announce plans to block pornography in the UK
– The government plans to change the way broadband providers filter Internet access to help stop access to pornography. The step follows existing plans that ISPs have used to help block inadvertent access of child pornography websites. The government want providers to use the same technology to block pornography unless adults have opted in to viewing it. This should help stop children from gaining access to inappropriate material that is currently freely available on the web. TalkTalk are already in the process of implementing a system which scans websites for malware and will introduce parental controls that can be configured for all users of the connection.
– BT said it would be happy to discuss the implementation of such a system but there are many ‘legal, consumer rights and technical issues’ that need to be evaluated before it could go live. Trefor Davies of Timico was less keen on the idea and questioned how well a system like this could work. There are millions of sites that would need to be blocked and these are changing all the time.
– This would obviously please some industries who could piggyback on the system and use it to help stop access to illegally downloaded music and films for example.
26:45 – T-Mobile Cuts
– T-Mobile UK is cutting “fair use” data limits on Feb 1 from up to 3GB to 500MB and has sparked furious complaints from customers, who were told by text today of the move.
– T-Mobile customers on “unlimited” Android monthly data contracts who contacted The Reg were particularly aggrieved. Most were aware that the fair use policy was 3GB per month, but all felt this was sufficient for their smartphone use.
– But today T-Mobile invoked “subject to change” rights, outlined in the contract small-print, to reduce fair usage down to 500MB. – http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2011/jan/12/t-mobile-data-limit
– The amendments, state that customers who exceed the 500MB cap can no longer download files or watch videos. Browsing sites such as Facebook, Gmail and BBC News will not be affected, though.

– U-turn… now appears that this new cap will only be for new customers.
30:22 – Android in Space
– Google sends up payload of an Android mascot and a Nexus S into near space
– The video looks amazing
– Google still = fun for me
31:52 – Google Goggles Update
– Update will now solve Sudoku puzzles
– Also has faster barcode scanning and recognizes print ad’s
32:44 – Google TV Failing
– Google TV is second worst reviewed product according to Walt Mossberg
– Reports that Logitech are displeased with Google TV
– Reports that Google have asked manufacturers not to demo Google TV during CES
– Apple TV ships 1 million in three months
– Still no silver bullet in this market
34:11 – Skype Updated on iOS
– Video calling enabled on iOS devices
– Works over wifi and 3G
– Free
– Betters facetime which is wifi only
35:09 – 3D Game Warning
– The eyesight of children under six could be harmed by 3D games played on Nintendo’s forthcoming handheld console, the company has warned.
– The games giant posted the health warning on the website devoted to the 3DS handheld. It said specialists had warned of possible damage that could be caused by 3D games which present different images to the right and left eye.
– Younger children should only play 2D versions of 3DS games, said Nintendo.
– In issuing the warning, Nintendo joins Sony and Toshiba in alerting people to the ill effects that can attend watching 3D movies or playing 3D games.
– Sony has already said that parents should get medical advice before letting children watch 3D content on the PlayStation. Toshiba has said parents should keep an eye on children watching its TVs that can display 3D images without needing glasses.
– The companies have also warned that watching too much 3D content can cause adults discomfort.
– Price announced for 3DS – 300 Yen, £200 at least in UK
– Games – £30-£50
– Region locked
– Feb Japan, March in UK
38:21 – Open Source Kinect Drivers
– PrimeSense, the company responsible for the technology behind Microsoft’s Kinect camera system, has, in conjunction with Willow Garage and Side-Kick, released official Windows and Linux (Ubuntu version 10.10 and later) open source drivers for Kinect
– The drivers allow access to the Kinect’s audio, video and depth sensors and include a complete API known as OpenNI (open natural interaction).
39:51 – Canabalt goes Open Source
– Dev taking part in Indie Game Sale
– Has decided to open source Canabalt
– Newest version of game, high score and twitter back end support stripped as they didn’t want to risk someone hacking user data
– you can use it for anything you want, even for commercial stuff but it’s not our fault if it doesn’t work.” However, the Canabalt-specific game code, game art, animation, music and sound effects are all proprietary, and protected by our copyrights and trademarks.
– Download from GitHub – happy learning
41:52 – Kindle 3 is Amazons bestselling product ever
– Beats Harry Potter 7 as biggest selling product Amazon has ever stocked
– No idea on figures – guesstimate is 8 million this year
43:15 – Amazon App Store
– Amazon.com launched the Amazon Appstore Developer Portal. You can find the Portal at developer.amazon.com. It is a new self-service tool that allows mobile application developers—Android developers in particular—to join our Appstore Developer Program and submit apps for the upcoming launch of the Amazon Appstore for Android.
– Why should you submit your apps for inclusion in the Amazon Appstore for Android?
– For the first time, you will have access to tens of millions of active Amazon customers.
– Amazon’s proven marketing and merchandizing features will help you get your apps discovered and in front of the right customers.
– The convenience of using an existing Amazon.com account will make it simple and easy for customers to purchase your apps – both online and on their mobile devices.
– The Appstore Developer Portal is your one-stop location to manage account details, manage marketing materials, and track sales and projected earnings using self-service and customizable reports.
– Could they launch a Mac, Windows app store?
45:42 – Mac App Store Launched
– Mac app store launches – 1000 apps, not clear how many are new
– Can buy individual iLife and iWork apps
– Aperture – £173 boxed, £44.99 in the App Store or $199 and $79
(Why is Apple TV $99 in US and £101 in UK?)
– Some other bargains there too
– Many prices the same as there web store counterparts though – no race to the bottom
– Twitter for Mac also launched via app store (Tweetie 2)
– Streams enabled – feels like IM if you tweet back and forward
– Addicting, distracting
– Apple and Panic app’s already bought are identified as installed by App Store even though installed outside of the store
– Evernote – Rate of new users on Mac is 1800% higher than normal – http://blog.evernote.com/2011/01/07/mac-app-store-more-than-doubles-new-users/
– So far, 166,789 new users have started using Evernote in the first few days of 2011. Since the launch of the Mac App Store, more than half of them are coming from the Mac. About 40,000 new users have signed up from the Mac so far. Note that this is new users only! It’s not the same as the total number of downloads from the Mac App Store (we had 90,000 of those, from store launch till midnight last night), because a large number of people downloading us from the Mac App Store are already registered Evernote users from a different platform.
– http://www.macstories.net/news/developer-goes-from-7-sales-a-day-to-1500-with-mac-app-store/
– LittleFin was selling between 6 – 10 copies of Compartments, a simple home inventory app for the Mac we reviewed here, a day through their website. The day before the Mac App Store launch, they sold only 7 copies. But as soon as the Store launched on January 6 and Ap8.ple featured the app in the Mac App Store homepage and its “Great Mac Apps” webpage, LittleFin saw a terrific increase in sales. In fact, they sold 1,547 copies in the first 24 hours of the Mac App Store. The app, now featured under “Staff Favorites”, is available at $9.99. Before the Mac App Store the app was sold at $24.95; the developers decided to lower the price as an experiment. Since January 6, the app has been selling 1,000 copies a day on average.
– Confusion over App Store finding already bought app’s. I still think it’s confusing to end users who have already purchased app’s that the App Store doesn’t recognise these app’s. To get app store updates, buy them again. No easy way for dev’s to swap licence over.
– Macworlds Mac App Store faq – http://www.macworld.com/article/156962/2011/01/mac_app_store_faq.html
– No beta’s, demo’s or trials – that sucks
– Some piracy fears – but not if app is coded properly
– Developer should check for digital signature that matches their app’s sig. Angry birds checks for existance of signature…any signature so you can download a free app, copy that signature to angry birds and your good to go.
– You have to delve into the Package Contents of the app’s dmg file, navigate to a particular folder and delete specific files. You then copy and paste those same files from the free app’s folder to the paid one. In other words, you would need to know these specific instructions before doing this – it’s not a matter of simply copying-and-pasting a receipt number, like you would have on some brick-and-mortar retail store’s receipt, into a field or pop-up notification within the paid app.
– 1 million downloads in 24 hours….970,000 were Twitter for Mac
– Couple of funnies
– http://readthefuckinghig.tumblr.com/ – Read the Fucking HIG (human interface guidelines)
– http://ifiboughtyourappalreadycaniupdateitthroughthemacappstore.com/
54:05 – Verizon iPhone
– Moves to new network in America
– Nothing new…apart from Personal Hotspots
– Verizon iPhone will let you create a personal hotspot and share your data connection via WiFi with up to five other devices, such as laptops or other cell phones.
– Verizon only or coming to an iPhone near you soon
– Verizon iPhones running 4.2.5 – launch at start of Feb?
– Not 4G as was hoped by our American friends – also, not exclusive. iPhone perhaps making it finally onto all other US networks…
– Now looks like personal hotspots coming to all iPhones running 4.2.5 (although likely needs to be carrier supported) – March according to Boy Genius Report
– Phone has altered antena…
56:15 – Google Drops support for H.264 Video in Chrome
– Though H.264 plays an important role in video, as our goal is to enable open innovation, support for the codec will be removed and our resources directed towards completely open codec technologies.
– So why is Flash plugin supported in Chrome?
– From DF – As it stands now, Chrome not only supports Flash, it ships with its own embedded copy of Flash. I don’t see how Google keeps Flash but drops H.264 in the name of “openness” without being seen as utter hypocrites.
– This is more Google vs Apple
1:01:26 – Microsoft object to App Store trademark
– Why Apple shouldn’t be allowed to trademark App Store – by the folk who trademarked Windows
– “Microsoft opposes Apple’s Application Serial No. 77/525433 for APP STORE on the grounds that ‘app store’ is generic for retail store services featuring apps and unregistrable for ancillary services such as searching for and downloading apps from such stores”.

Picks
Ian
MyFitnessPal
– Track food, excercise, weight
– Social networking part
– Free iPhone app – excellent app
– Easy to add in food intake from extensive database of foods
– Very impressed

Chris
Logitech HD Pro C910 Webcam
– Capable of capturing HD video / 10MP stills
– Stereo Sound… (good quality)
– Supports SkypeHD if your connection can…(1meg upload)
– Also supports Logitechs Cid HD service (but who uses that??)
– Built in upload to YouTube/Facebook if you want
– Comes with Magix vid/photo editing software
– Has silly options to add effects and avatars (very impressive facial tracking on show)
– Also, excellent motion detection so it can even act as a security cam should you wish!
– Downsides – expensive. Cheapest I’ve seen it is around £70… likely cheaper soon.
– Unless you have great connection and latest software – chances are you won’t really be sending over HD vid via skype but the high quality optics mean that your standard def vids are much improved.