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Entries in Software (7)

Friday
Jul202012

Sparrow Acquired by Google

My favorite mail app (for both Mac and iPhone) was just acquired by Google. Or should I say, acq-hired.

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Feb022010

Adobe is Running Scared from Evolving Standards

Buy this from SpreadshirtLike the iPhone and iPod Touch that came before it, the iPad runs the same slimmed-down version of Mac OS X complete with it's multi-touch controls, icons and menu bar.

The iPad also shares with its forebears a lack of support for Adobe's Flash. Flash is an application runtime environment (a nerdy way of saying "software that lets other software work") that competes with the native applications on the iPhone, so it would make business sense that Apple might exclude it from the native capabilities of the "iPlatform".

More likely however, is the fact that Flash is buggy, crashes often and can suck up CPU cycles like crazy.

Case in point: now that I'm running Google Chrome on my MacBook, I can see how often Flash crashes as the browser will remain functioning but indicate that the plug-in has crashed. These are crashes I used to blame on my browser - Safari, Firefox, Opera, Camino - all of them. Shame on me.

Given how maniacal Apple is about the user experience and stability of the iPlatform, it's a no-brainer for them to exclude Flash - competitive issues aside.

And now, with the triumvirate of the iPhone, iPod Touch and soon iPad, Adobe is getting a little uncomfortable. If there's one company that can utilize its momentum and marketing prowess to shift an industry from de facto standards to web standards, it's Apple - and in this case, that web standard is HTML5.

Apple did this for the Webkit rendering engine that now powers Safari and Mobile Safari, but also Google Chrome, Android and soon a variety of other Webkit-based browsers for mobile devices like BlackBerry. They did it for video with H.264 and soon, they'll do it for HTML5.

Click to read more ...

Monday
May252009

Buying Software for Jailbroken Hardware

So, yeah. I jailbroke my iPhone. I did it primarily so I could use Qik and uStream and so I could add Search functionality.

A funny thing happened after I did that: I found some software that I can't live without. But therein lies a dilemma.

You: Wait - how is finding something you love a bad thing?

Well, that software requires that I purchase a software license.

You: Okaaaaay. So, just buy it!

Not so fast. Think about the premise for a moment: a developer wants me to purchase his software for a phone whose manufacturer may block me from using that software at some point in the future. It's kind of like buying a car and wondering if gas stations will continue to sell the kind of gas you need to run it.

I'm supportive of software developers, especially small, innovative shops that deliver valuable tools. I think it's great that they've found a market and can make some money for their creativity and hard work but as a buyer, it can be hard to reconcile that kind of risk.

OK, so it's not a huge risk. The software only costs $9.99. (That's like, my espresso budget for a couple of days.) But it did make me think.

The software is called IntelliScreen and it's made by a company called Rock Your Phone.

From their site:

Need to know where your next meeting is? Do you have any new email? What about a quick glimpse at your SMS/Text messages or weather? Want to catch the latest news, but Safari is too slow? IntelliScreen allows you to glimpse at your critical data on your iPhone "Slide to Unlock" screen!

Features:

  • View Calendar, Email, Text Messages, News, Sports, and Weather from your iPhone "Slide To Unlock" screen
  • Taskbar Icons for Missed Email, SMS, and Phone calls
  • QuickView
  • View/Mark Read/Mark Unread/Delete your Emails and SMS from the Lock Screen
  • 2 IntelliScreens
  • Double Tap the Clock Area to goto Page 2
  • Hide IntelliScreen with a Swipe to the left on the Clock Area
  • Swipe Right to get it back
  • Customizable Alert Reminders
  • Don't forget about a missed call, unread email, unread SMS, or repeating Calendar Alerts

 

Quite simply, it rocks. It's become an indispensible tool for me. (And no, I have no ties to the company whatsoever, financial or otherwise.)

Consequently, I downloaded another one of their apps called "MyProfiles" and yes, I will buy it, too once the trial is over. It costs $4.99.

From their site:

Find yourself constantly changing the settings on your iPhone depending on what you're doing or where you are? How about getting alerted when a critical email comes in from your boss? What about being able to sleep at night without being disturbed, unless it's a call from a loved one? Wish you didn't have to keep changing the auto-lock function when you're charging at your desk? Do all of this and more with MyProfiles!

Profile your iPhone!

Adjust how your iPhone behaves based on time, location, connected devices, low battery, and more.

Features:

  • Custom alerting of email based on Subject, Sender, Sent Only to You, and Mail Accounts.
  • Custom alerting of SMS messages and missed calls based on caller phone #.
  • Modify the Vibrate Pattern so you can be quietly alerted to a specific email.
  • Repeating Alerts for Email, SMS, and Missed Calls.
  • Silence Calls via WhiteList or BlackList
  • Escalating Rings and Vibrate 1st then Ring
  • Adjust WiFi, Bluetooth, GPS, Push Email, Auto Lock, and 3G based on Location, Time of Day, and more.
  • Automatic rules engine to enable profiles
  • Vibrate, Sound, or Flash Alerting with Alert Quiet Time
  • Manual Override Profile by holding down the home button and pressing up and down on the Volume buttons.

When do I really have to stop and think about buying software for a jailbroken iPhone? Probably when the price hits almost $30.

pdaNet is a software application that's been around for awhile for Palm Treos, Windows Mobile, BlackBerry and is now available for jailbroken iPhones. Created by a company called JuneFabrics, it enables you to connect to the AT&T 3G network using your iPhone and a Wifi enabled computer that supports the creation of "ad hoc networks." The Mac does this easily - I'm unsure about Windows and Linux.

From their site:

pdaNet has been one of the most popular software for Windows Mobile phones and Palm OS phones. It is now ported to the iPhone! The latest version turns your iPhone into a true WiFi router for your computer (MAC or PC), and allows your laptop to go online wirelessly through the 3G network on the iPhone. It also supports USB tethering for Windows users.

While there has been quite a few other third party software (iPhoneModem, NetShare etc. and also the built-in OpenSSH) that tether your iPhone through a junky SOCKS proxy solution. PdaNet, on the other hand, is miles ahead! Here is a list of what PdaNet can do:

  • You will get FULL Internet access on the computer! (Instead of only applications that support Socks proxy.) In technical terms, all applications make direct TCP/IP connections to the server. Since there is no proxy involved, that also means less problems and less delays.
  • VPN connections are supported on the computer.
  • You don't need to configure anything on the computer end whenever you connect PdaNet. No proxy settings, no extra software installation, no messing with static IP assignment, no switching settings back and forth when going back to your home's WiFi router.
  • Yes it will connect at 3G speed if your phone has the coverage. Feedback from our users shows pretty fast speed even for the 2G version.
  • WiFi Router Mode supports PC, MAC, Linux or anything devices that supports ad-hoc WiFi connection. See WiFi setup instructions.
  • USB Tether Mode makes things even simpler. It allows you to with one click from the computer end. See USB setup instructions. USB mode even allows your computer to go online using the iPhone's WiFi Internet connection.
  • PdaNet runs in the background so you can still use other iPhone features when PdaNet is connected.
  • PdaNet has a built-in "insomnia" feature so you can turn off the phone when PdaNet is in the foreground and it won't drop your active connection. This will conserve battery.
  • When PdaNet is connected, you can SSH/SCP to your phone using domain "my.iPhone".

However, once again, a software update for the iPhone could render the application useless. Additionally, it's really meant for the person who occassionally wants to connect their laptop to the interwebs. If you're going to connect often, get yourself dedicated hardware and a service plan or suffer the rath of AT&T who will most certainly suspend your account for a "Terms of Service" violation.

Would you buy software for your jailbroken iPhone? Have you already? Why? Tell me in the comments.

Friday
Dec262008

Gadgets for Christmas

Once again, Santa was good to me. I'm grateful that my family is so thoughtful and generous.

So, what gadgetry was under the tree for me this year? 

iHome iP9BR Clock Radio & Audio System for iPhone & iPod, Black

This is the one that works with the iPhone and allows for incoming calls. Previous models did not. I set it up so that I wake to an episode of The Bigg Success Show each morning.

 

 

 

Livescribe Pulse Smartpen, 2 GB

The day that my Mom asked me what I wanted for Christmas was the day that LiveScribe released the beta of the Mac desktop software for their Pulse Smartpen, so I added it to the list. (My Mom picks one or two things off my lengthy gadget list each year, as her budget allows...)

I'm looking forward to putting it through its paces. If you haven't seen it in action, be sure to check out these videos:

The Pulse comes with a single-subject spiral-bound notebook which is better suited for students than business use. I ordered a set of Moleskine-like journals that should be here in a couple of days. 

Of course, in a pinch, you can also print your own LiveScribe Pulse-compatible paper.

Freehands Fleece Gloves for the iPhone

 

Before you judge the geekiness of these gloves, try using an iPhone in the dead of winter. Not practical.

The thumbs and pointer fingers flip open (and stay open thanks to the magnets that are sewn-in) so that you can use the touch screen on the iPhone. They are perfectly suited to the task at hand. (Pun intended)

  

Mini Espresso Maker

Those of you who follow me on twitter know about my addiction obsession affection for espresso. It's tough to find the elixir of life when you travel to, say, the boonies of western Pennsylvania. To help with my search for the perfect shot on-the-go, my wife gave me a Mini Espresso Maker from Restoration Hardware which should work just great. I haven't tested it yet but will give it a try over the holidays, just to make sure I know how to use it properly when traveling.

Monday
Dec152008

Have a scanner without drivers? Get VueScan.

Do you have a Canon LiDE 30 without drivers for OS X Leopard? What about Vista?

Yeah, I thought so.

I've had a very nice, very functional LiDE 30 for a few years now and after upgrading to Leopard, it either worked poorly or not at all. So, I Googled for a solution and found VueScan from Hamrick Software.

It's pathetic when you consider that ginormous corporations can't upgrade their drivers and software to work properly with OS upgrades, yet lil' ol' Hamrick can support 1200 of them. Yes, you read that right. This five megabyte download has support for more than 1200 flatbed and film scanners, multi-language support and a full-fledged scanning environment - no Photoshop or other image editing software needed in order to acquire your scanned image.

If you've ever purchased a version of VueScan in the past, there's good news for you: in celebration of their 10th anniversary, anyone who has ever purchased any version of VueScan can upgrade to version 8.5 for free.

Either way, consider yourself lucky to get your old doorstop of a scanner working again.

[Hamrick Software]

Sunday
Nov022008

Google Earth on my iPhone

My NeighborhoodEven on an original iPhone, the accuracy of Google Earth is astounding - and I have terrible AT&T coverage in my home. Let's just say if you were the blue dot, you could ping my house with a pebble. 

 

Tuesday
Oct212008

G1 Love

[via engadget]