3/31/09

iPhones Pirated

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The iPhone's App Store is becoming an increasingly juicy target for pirates, who have illegally cracked 20 percent of paid applications for free distribution.

Apple's App Store offers about 25,000 paid apps, and iPhone analytics company Medialets estimates at least 5,000 have been pirated. The company also said it has tracked dozens of apps with as high as a 100-to-1 pirated-to-paid ratio.

"It's a real problem that developers, Apple and the community need to address," said Eric Litman, CEO of Medialets, a market research company that tracks app statistics and usage for developers.

3/30/09

Skype for iPHONE

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Skype is set to launch its iPhone application Tuesday, bringing its much-anticipated Net-based phone service to Apple's mobile platform. With the Skype iPhone app, users will be able to make free calls using Wi-Fi to other Skype users as well as use their Skype accounts to make reduced price calls to traditional landline phones. Skype announced its iPhone application will be available on Tuesday for free, with a version for the BlackBerry available in May. Mobile versions of Skype are already available for Nokia, Windows Mobile, and Google Android phones.

From what we can tell, the Skype for iPhone looks great; but it has some drawbacks. One disappointment is that users won't be able to place calls over cellular networks, but only via Wi-Fi. Still, for international callers especially, Skype's iPhone app will save callers money by allowing them to avoid AT&T's traditional wireless phone network and adds the convenience of allowing Skype users to use their iPhone handset for Skype calls.

Looking more like a traditional iPhone app rather than the desktop Windows counterpart most of its 400 million users are used to, Skype for iPhone features five tabs at the bottom of the screen, displaying contacts, chats, a calling panel, call history, and your profile (with Facebook-style status).

3/27/09

Mega Man 2 for the iPhone

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Continuing a week of surprise revelations for iPhone and iPod Touch users, Capcom today released an iPhone version of its infuriating NES classic Mega Man II. It's priced at $5 and weighs in at 13.2 MB, meaning you won't be able to download it via 3G or Edge.

Capcom points out that the gameplay has been rebalanced for iPhone, which is undoubtedly for the best, as a touch screen-controlled port of platformer that demands absolute precision problably isn't the best idea, especially given the amount of broken gamepads that Mega Man II has left in the wake of its multiple incarnations.


3/20/09

AT&T to offer 'no-contract' iPhone

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AT&T Thursday said that it will start selling iPhones without those pesky two-year contracts beginning March 26. The catch? You'll have to pony up hundreds of dollars more.

AT&T spokesman Michael Coe confirmed the news late Thursday.

"The no-commitment pricing offer is available to AT&T customers for $599 [8 GB] and $699 [16 GB]," Cole said.

Translation: You'll be paying either $200 more for the 8-GB model or $400 more for the 16-GB iPhone.

The buzz about the no-contract bonanza began earlier in the day after Web site Boy Genius posted pictures from an AT&T presentation.

The company's presentation noted that customers buying the iPhone 3G under the no-commit price are not required to activate the phone at the point of sale -- store -- which is usually the case. The no-commit price also is limited to one-per mobile number.

3/16/09

The iPhone: Copy, Paste

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It's not particularly surprising. This is, after all, the first SXSWi since the debut of the iPhone 3G. While the original iPhone was an instant hit, plenty of people in the tech industry (myself included) held out for the second generation because the first didn't have 3G data access or GPS capabilities. Not to mention there's now the App Store, which has meant the iPhone is a huge priority for developers and designers everywhere.

But on the flip side, there has been such a saturation of iPhones at SXSWi that the network for AT&T, the exclusive carrier for iPhones, promptly floundered (or, to use the geek slang of choice, "fail-whaled"), with conference-goers encountering poor service, weak Internet connections, and dropped calls left and right. iPhone problems were so prevalent that AT&T upped its coverage in Austin for the duration of the festival.

"To accommodate unprecedented demand for mobile data and voice applications at SXSW, we are actively working this afternoon to add capacity to our cell sites serving downtown Austin," a statement from the telecom giant read. "These efforts are ongoing, but we anticipate that customers should see improved network performance this evening and for the remainder of the event. We will continue to monitor network performance throughout the event, and will do everything possible to maximize network performance throughout."

Ouch.

The iPhone's ubiquity at SXSWi is especially fitting because on Tuesday, the final day of SXSWi, Apple itself will be making some kind of iPhone software unveiling.

The Apple announcement, in the company's hometown of Cupertino, Calif., will be far, far away from the bars and barbecues of Austin. But word travels fast here, and speculation has already reached a fever pitch. On Saturday night, during a live taping of his Diggnation podcast, Digg founder Kevin Rose said he anticipates copy-paste functions to come to the iPhone for the first time, and the geek press went wild.

Granted, Rose typically tapes Diggnation with a healthy amount of beer in his system, and he likely wanted to drop a couple of zingers to satisfy the hundreds of excited fanboys who were surrounding the stage with cameras in hand.

But it's about time for copy-paste. And I already feel bad for any SXSWi panelists and speakers who happen to be presenting at that time. As soon as word gets out about Apple's announcement, they'll probably lose the attention of their audiences altogether.

iPhone 3.0 Rumors

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Apple is revealing the "state of play" of its next iPhone firmware--iPhone 3.0--in a special event tomorrow. And gadget-hounds are predictably excited about what goodies the new code will include. Leading the rumor list is a feature that the public's been literally clamoring for ever since iPhone 1.0.

Copy/paste. This rumor would have surfaced anyway, given how surprising it is that the all-singing, all-dancing phone hasn't offered this basic feature it yet, but this time it comes from Digg founder Kevin Rose. He's "leaked" or rumored several iPhone improvements in the past that have turned out to be accurate, so there's momentum behind the cut and paste hopes this time around--especially since Gizmodo claims to have evidence from another source. According to Kevin during a live Diggnation broadcast from SXSW, the function will work pretty similarly to the "magnifying glass" effect for moving the text caret: You'll simply move two start/end markers around the interesting text, and select "cut" before pasting elsewhere.

MMS. The next hot ticket is multimedia messaging (the ability to incorporate images, audio, video and rich text in your short messages). BoyGeniusReport was tipped off about this feature, and adding MMS functionality only requires a fairly minor software tweak. The iPhone's hardware is perfectly capable of supporting the format, and it's surprisingly short-sighted of Apple to not have included it in the first place, given the popularity of the format elsewhere in the World. Rose says he believes there will not be any MMS.

Springboard. Another potential feature is a homepage upgrade--to emulate the "springboard" app launch functionality of the Palm Pre. The iPhone can support huge numbers of apps, but organizing and accessing them from the homepage isn't always very efficient, hence expectations of a new system. There's even talk of "categories" for apps.

Background or "push" notifications. This function has had a checkered history. Steve Jobs talked about it early on, but then it practically disappeared from view (except from the iPhone users who have been clamoring for push e-mail). Kevin Rose doesn't think we'll see it, other commenters think it'll be there. It's a mystery as to whether we'll see it or not.

Video recording: Nearly every other dumb phone out there does it, but the iPhone doesn't. Kevin Rose's sources make him think this isn't coming in iPhone 3.0 either--but the matter may be more complex than that. The iPhone's camera isn't wonderful, and its relative slowness may be a problem of both hardware and software: tweaking the firmware to add video functions may simply not work to Apple's high standards.

But that's not to say the next-gen iPhone won't have a better camera. This also applies to any other functions that may reveal what Apple has in store for the next version of iPhone hardware--things like a magnetometer for compass-based navigation, and more extensive GPS and LBS tricks. That's why there's all this excitement about a simple firmware update: It all depends on whether the company chooses to tease the expanded functions of the next-gen phone or not.


3/12/09

Sirius & XM Radio to stream to iPhone

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Sirius XM Radio Inc. is planning to stream its subscription radio service to the iPhone and iPod Touch devices from Apple Inc.

After narrowly avoiding a filing for bankruptcy protection last month, the nation's only satellite radio provider wants to step up sales directly to consumers. New car purchases — which had been Sirius' best source of customers — are way down.

Sirius XM also said in a call Thursday to discuss its fourth-quarter earnings that it's ramping up efforts to reach buyers of used cars with factory-installed satellite radios.

3/11/09

'American Idol' is on the iPhone

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This $1.99 app, which appeared on the iTunes store Monday night as an exclusive to the iPhone and iPod Touch, turns the iPhone into a portable "American Idol" tracker. It shows headshots of season eight's final 13 contestants. Every week, the rankings will change to reflect who is still in the competition. Better, though, is the fact that you can predict the final rankings, call out the winners and have your prediction marked with a date and time — just so you can prove you prognosticated perfectly. So, yes, you can show people that you picked Michael Sarver before anyone else to be the winner.

The "Idol" iPhone game will include live-action footage of 15 other contestants, all played by unknown actors, a rep for the project told MTV News. Players have to make that all-important decision about which songs to sing, as well as taking other strategic steps on the way to becoming the next American Idol. As for the singing, players won't be crooning at all. Instead, they'll need to tilt the iPhone in different directions to match the rhythm of the competition's music. It's a tilt version of the kind of pattern-matching that players of "Rock Band' or "Guitar Hero" use to rock out in those games.

Clips of the judges' commentary have been culled from the show and will be used to critique each performance. Get ready for Simon Cowell's harshest barbs to be directed right at you.

3/10/09

Should we reconsider legalizing marijuana?

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"What do President Barack Obama, Olympic gold medalist Michael Phelps and musician John Lennon all have in common?

They’ve all smoked pot.

An anti-drug speaker once told a group of students that if we smoke pot, we won’t get anywhere. This speaker must not have been aware of these influential men. Any facts she had to show the evils of marijuana were made void by that statement."

FULL ARTICLE HERE.

3/9/09

Cydia Store Sells Jailbroken iPhone Apps

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iPhone and iPod Touch owners rejoiced when Jay Freeman released Cydia, a software installer for jailbroken iPhone OS. The Cydia store was launched on Saturday for developers to sell their apps for jailbroken iPhone and iPod Touch devices. Independent developers will now have a platform to sell their applications outside Apple's 'Walled Garden' - the App Store.

Jailbreaking is a process to enable an iPhone OS-based device to bypass the digital rights management for privilege escalation. Users can install applications that are developed by independent developers whose applications aren't available in the official App Store.

Cydia application installer already includes applications like Cycoder that turns the iPhone into a camcorder, and PdaNet, which turns the iPhone into a Wi-Fi hotspot, using the data connection.

Freeman's Cyntact is the first paid package in the Cydia Store. Cyntact shows the contact's profile picture in the contact list. However, this application faces some conflict with the IntelliScreen app.

Freeman in an interview with Wall Streen Journal said that Cydia Store "intends to charge developers no more than the commission Apple does for his site's billing services."

It has been reported that two more rival App Stores are underdevelopment of which one focuses on selling porn-themed games for the iPhone.

Watchmen Game for the iPhone

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The new movie Watchmen launched last Friday and it looks cool. The movie follows a group of super heroes and the product tie-ins include video games. The iPhone and iPod touch are getting a game based on the movie that is available now.

The game is called Watchmen: Justice is Coming and justice is cheap too at under a buck on the App store. The game offers 3D graphics and is a MMORPG title that lets players fight in a virtual New York City of the 1970’s.

The game is set before the movie events and the servers for the MMORPS game are from Amazon’s cloud platform. Players can create their own super hero avatars and take on enemies and adventure through the city.


MacBook Touch/iTablet/iPhone HD Panels

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Straight from rumorville...

MacRumors is reporting on a Digitimes story that says Taiwan-based supplier:

Wintek revealed that it is currently working with Apple to develop some new products, but it said it does not know what applications the new products are for.

Apple has denied interest in producing both a tablet and a netbook in the past, which is what they do both when they really have no interest, and also when they’re about the release something. What with all the new hardware Apple dropped last week, TiPb has speculated that the March 24th date for a rumored Apple Event could be used to debut the iPhone OS 3.0 beta, a higher resolution iPhone HD… or an iTablet form factor.

If Apple does release a new device, would it really be a netbook scale version of Mac OS X or a large-size iPod touch running the iPhone version of OS X? Either way, developers would need time to ramp up (or down) their apps. Either way, could this be more fuel for that fire, or simply more grist for the rumor-mill?


3/8/09

Web Sites Sell Phone Apps Online

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Apple Inc. faces a growing threat to its iPhone business, as renegade stores spring up online to sell unauthorized software for the device.

The developer behind some popular iPhone software on Friday plans to open a service called Cydia Store that could potentially sell hundreds of iPhone applications that are not available through Apple's official store.

Users must download special software that alters their iPhones before they can run these programs.

Another small company plans a store called Rock Your Phone for iPhone users who have not yet modified their devices to make it easier to download and buy unauthorized applications. A third start-up is building an online store that specializes in selling adult games for the iPhone.

The new stores take aim at one of the underpinnings of the iPhone's success: Apple's App Store.

The upstart sites can carry software programs that Apple's official store won't, since the company tightly controls the kinds of applications it allows.

Among the programs that Apple doesn't allow is a free one called Cycorder, which turns the iPhone into a camcorder. Another program, which costs $29, dubbed PdaNET lets people use their iPhones as laptop modems to connect to the Internet.


3/5/09

Obama has Grey Hair? - Get a Real News Story!

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President Barack Obama, left, on January 20, 2009 and on Wednesday, June 11, 2008. (CBS)

Hey dipshits at Fox.com, CNN, CBS, and every other substantial News source. Why are you talking about his hair color so much?

Lack any brains to write about actual events? There's still a war going on....

Obama dyed his hair for the election you retarded bitches. Look at pictures of him back when he was a senator.

He just stopped giving a fuck what you people think - He has way more important shit on his mind than making sure he rinses with Just For Men at 530am when he wakes up while youre still sleeping, passed out from watching American Idol and Deal or No Deal re-runs.

Please ignore news stories with no resonance in the community.

Robots!

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Like Robots?
Check these fuckers out: http://www.boston.com/bigpicture/2009/03/robots.html

Zynga’s “Scramble Live” on iPhone & iPod Touch

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Zynga (www.zynga.com), the largest social gaming company, announced today the launch of “Scramble Live”– the mobile version of its wildly popular word game – exclusively for the iPhone and iPod Touch. “Scramble Live,” a fast-paced casual game that challenges players to quickly find words in a grid, marks the first word game on the iPhone that allows players to compete live with other users on Facebook, the iPhone, and iPod Touch in real time. Scramble is currently one of Facebook’s Top 25 games with more than 1 million monthly active users and its popularity continues to grow.

“Scramble Live” takes full advantage of multi-touch technology through gameplay and uses the iPhone and iPod Touch's accelerometer and multi-touch to rotate the board. At the end of each round, players are shown how missed words are formed on the board. The game includes three modes of play:

  • Solo – Play in ladder mode to beat your friends’ scores
  • Live – Play against other users in real time
  • Play & Pass – Play with up to three other people sitting next to you on the same device

“Scramble Live” is available for all first and second-generation iPhones, as well as all first and second-generation iPod Touches. “Scramble Live” is available for $4.99, with a $2.99 limited-time launch special. The game is offered in the iTunes store at: http://itunes.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewSoftware?id=305904527&mt=8.

Photos/Multimedia Gallery Available: http://www.businesswire.com/cgi-bin/mmg.cgi?eid=5909404&lang=en.

3/4/09

Kindle 2 vs. Kindle for iPhone Application

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I bought a Kindle 2 last week, after a year of waiting for the second iteration of Amazon's e-book reader. I was hesitant at first, as I still love reading hardcover and paperback books, but the free cellular Web access and the addition of magazine subscriptions from publications like the New Yorker had me convinced. I've had it for a week now, and I love it. It feels great in my hands, and the e-ink screen creates the illusion of a reading a real book. I can hold it in my hand and read from it for hours.

So when I first heard that Amazon released the Kindle application for the iPhone, I immediately second-guessed my purchase of the Kindle 2. Did I make a foolish purchase? Why wasn't I patient enough to wait for the iPhone application? A free iPhone app is definitely a lot cheaper than the $359 for the Kindle 2. So I downloaded the Kindle for iPhone application to find out if I should send my Kindle 2 packing with a return slip.

Also, the Kindle iPhone application does not resolve my earlier complaint about reading ebooks on the iPhone. Reading on the iPhone's screen for a long duration is just not very enjoyable. This is especially apparent if you encounter long paragraphs with no breaks in the text -- the entire screen of the iPhone becomes just one block of words and can be difficult to read. If you want it for reading in short bursts however, this is acceptable. But for longer reading while relaxing on the couch, the Kindle wins.

I downloaded those same comic samples to the Kindle application on the iPhone. I still couldn't zoom in, and it's still hard to read the word balloons. But I was awed and amazed that they arrived in full-blown color. Yes, I couldn't read any of them, but it gave me a small glimmer of hope that maybe some day there'll be a way. Until then, I guess I'll have to live with the individually-sold iVerse comic applications.

3/3/09

More Sales with E-Commerce iPhone Apps

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Analytics Pro; $3.99
If you're not using Google Analytics to measure your Web site's performance, you're missing out. Not only does it provide detailed statistics on site visits, page views, traffic sources, and more, but it's completely free. Now you can access the same detailed reports that Google Analytics offers with an easy-to-navigate iPhone app. Analytics Pro lets you view stats for multiple sites, making it easy to manage several at once. We're thrilled that the latest version added a landscape mode so that users can view reports by holding their iPhones sideways. That extra room makes it much easier to read report information.

Cellfire Mobile Coupons; free for application, contact for service pricing
This iPhone app isn't for you, but for your future customers. Cellfire is a free application that delivers digital coupons to cell phone users (the company offers applications for other phones besides the iPhone). Business owners can choose who sees their coupons based on region, so if you're a local company only locals will see your offer. When people use the app, they choose the coupon they want to view from the Cellfire interface, then press a button to use that coupon when they're ready to pay for the product or service.

Credit Card Terminal; $49.99
Sure, you love the work, you love being your own boss, but nothing beats getting paid — now. With Credit Card Terminal, that expensive iPhone can start earning its keep. You'll need an Authorize.net account to use it, so sign up for a merchant account first, if you haven't already. Once you're done, you'll be able to set up Credit Card Terminal in less than five minutes. You only need to enter your ID and transaction key once; the app remembers that information afterwards. Enter a customer's credit card number, expiration date, payment amount, and zip code and you're all set. The app offers fraud protection, including AVS (Address Verification Service) and Card Security Code (CVV2/CVC/CID), so you don't need to worry about getting scammed. Once you send a transaction, you'll know instantly whether or not it was approved.

Ring It Up POS; $39.99
If you don't work out of an office, but instead visit your clients at their homes or offices, Ring It Up POS helps you get paid quickly and keep track of sales. Once you've downloaded the app, create a catalog with your entire inventory of goods and services (including any discount coupons). Then, after you've made a sale, you can create an invoice of the transaction just by tapping the purchased items.

Salesforce Mobile; app free but requires account
If you're already a Salesforce CRM customer, you'll love having this app on hand. It puts all the tools of Salesforce in your pocket, so that you can spend more time away from your computer. With it, you can view dashboards of sales numbers, log your customer calls, access current account activity, and respond immediately to new leads

SunShop Tool; $6.99
For those who use SunShop shopping cart software, this app is the perfect extra. SunShop lets small business owners create an online store and costs $249.99 for a standard license. Use it to create a customizable online presence in minutes and accept credit cards. With the iPhone app you can view up-to-the-minute sales statistics and monitor your store's performance wherever you go.

Thirsty Pocket; free
For quick one-time sales, you've got to check out Thirsty Pocket. This app is like a mobile version of Craig's List, but better. You simply snap a picture of what you're trying to sell using the iPhone's camera, write a brief description — and you're done. We love that there's no need to create an account, since the app creates one automatically.

3/2/09

Apple's iPhone Controls Most of Mobile Web Use

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In its first detailed look at web market share for cellphones, a research firm has found that Apple's iPhone represents a staggering 66.61 percent of mobile traffic while its competitors have only just gained a foothold.

Other smartphone platforms haven't fared any better, according to the metrics. Google's Android and Symbian were both locked in a tie for 6.15 percent. Research in Motion's email-centric BlackBerry OS was used less often at just 2.24 percent and was even outmatched by PalmOS devices, which represented 2.37 percent of cellular web use last month.

The news may have to placate Apple fans given a fairly stale month in desktop-class operating systems. Windows has reclaimed a small portion of its steadily declining share and climbed a fifth of a point to 88.42 percent, while Mac OS X share has backed down from its all-time high in January to 9.61 percent.

2/19/09

iPhone Fart App 'Pull My Finger' Still In Dispute

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The producer of a farting iPhone app is making a legal stink over another flatulence app in a looming trademark battle over the phrase, "pull my finger."

The brouhaha concerns Air-O-Matic of Florida, the maker of the popular "Pull My Finger" app, which claims the maker of rival "iFart Mobile" is misappropriating the phrase "pull my finger" in its advertisements. Such an assertion, according to iFart Mobile maker InfoMedia of Colorado, reeks of an misunderstanding of American fart culture.

Kevin Houchin, InfoMedia's lawyer, explains:

The phrase "pull my finger," and derivations thereof, are generally known and widely understood in American society to be a joke or prank regarding flatulence. The prank begins when the prankster senses the deep stirrings of flatulence. The prankster then requests that an unsuspecting person pull [his or her] finger. The prankster extends his index finger to the victim. As the victim pulls the prankster's finger, his flatulence erupts so as to suggest a causal relationship between the pulling of the finger and the subsequent expulsion of gas. In other words, the phrase "pull my finger" is understood to be a description of the act of passing gas.

"InfoMedia's efforts have been directed at merging 'Pull My Finger' and 'iFart' in the consumers' minds, so that searches for 'Pull My Finger' pull up the iFart application," AOM attorney Karen Koster Burr wrote (.pdf) InfoMedia in a letter demanding $50,000 payment.