Nov 7, 2012

Megaupload’s New Website Has Already Been Shut Down

Kim Dotcom has been hyping up Megaupload's new website Mega for so long that it seemed like a given that the file sharing site would come back bigger and badder. But it doesn't look likely because has already been shut down by Gabon, a small country in Africa that controls the .ga domain.

According to, Blaise Louembe, communications minister for Gabon, says:
Communications Minister Blaise Louembe has reportedly said he had given an instruction for to be "suspended" and that Gabon "cannot serve as a platform or screen for committing acts aimed at violating copyrights, nor be used by unscrupulous people".
Kim Dotcom, ever the obstacle crusher, says they have backup domains to use so it's not a cause for concern. Guess it can't be cleverly named anymore though! More here.

This Obama Celebration Is the Most-Liked Facebook Photo Ever

Early this morning, with this simple, joyful photograph, Barack Obama scored yet another victory: the most-liked Facebook photo of all time.

As of now nearly three million people have given the photo—uploaded to Barack Obama's timeline and adorned with a message of "Four more years"—a thumbs up. Between it and last night's most popular tweet ever (same picture, same words), Obama's win has clearly been sanctified by the United States of Internet. Picture is here.

Nov 6, 2012

Microsoft Is Killing Off Windows Live Messenger for Skype

The Verge is reporting that Microsoft is trying to nix its Windows Live Messenger client in favor of Skype. That's definitely for the best, and something we've seen coming for a while now. But it also smacks of some missed opportunity for Windows 8 and Windows Phone.

The plan, according to the Verge, is that the backend of Messenger will be moved over to the Skype client. So you still use your Messenger account and contacts, just in Skype. That move's been happening for a while, and apparently 80 percent of Skype IMs are already through the Messenger protocol. Skype is a better alternative for a lot of people than WLM, and consolidating the number of clients under Microsoft's roof is a good thing.

Messenger remains widely used—according to Microsoft's numbers, it and Facebook are the two most popular chat clients. But, honestly, when is the last time you signed into WLM? So Microsoft has been focusing more on the chat functions in Skype—especially with recent improvements to the client's chat interface—and is even integrating it into its People apps in Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 in the near future. More here.

Happy Birthday: Android Turns Five Years Old Today

Under the guidance of Google, the open-sourced OS has become the darling among some of the world’s most popular manufacturers: Samsung, HTC, LG all make Android devices, and that’s just naming a few. Sure, Android still has a fragmentation problem, but the newest devices are better than we’ve ever seen, and a lot are coming equipped with some pretty phenomenal features: Google Now in particular.

Seeing Android grow over the past few years has been fun (Google Play has seen anenormous uptick as well), and we’ve yet to see the best Android has to offer — compare the T-Mobile G1 to a device like the recently announced Nexus 4. The differences are incredible.

Nov 5, 2012

Samsung Galaxy Camera Coming to U.K. on November 8

Samsung’s Android-powered Galaxy Camera is coming to the United Kingdom on November 8, just in time for the holiday rush. It’s expected to cost £399.99 (approx. $637), but Samsung is yet to confirm that price tag — despite the release being just three days away.

That’s the price currently being advertised by camera retailer Jessops, and online retailer, which is now allowing customers to pre-order. The Galaxy Camera will also be available from various electronics retailers come November 8, including phone stores like Carphone Warehouse and Phones 4U, according to The Verge.

Running Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, the Galaxy Camera comes with a 16-megapixel 1/2.3″ sensor, and an f/2.8 21x optical zoom lens. It’s powered by a super speedy 1.4GHz quad-core processor, and offers 8GB of internal storage — which can be expanded via the microSD card slot.

The device also has access to the Google Play store and built-in Wi-Fi and 3G, which means you can use all your favorite Android apps to edit your best shots and upload them to photo sharing services on the go. More here.

Skype Launches Prepaid Cards in UK: Available in over 1,400 Stores, Credit Starts from £10

Skype has unveiled a series of prepaid cards for the UK, offering users without a credit card the ability to top-up their accounts starting from £10. A second £20 card will also be available in UK retailers including Asda, Currys, PC World, Sainsburys and bookseller WHSmith, with both denominations redeemable globally through the Microsoft company's online portal. More here.

Nov 4, 2012

Apple iPad Mini Sales Hot in New York Despite Effects of Hurricane Sandy

Even despite the lingering presence of Hurricane Sandy, hundreds of people waited in line to pick up the iPad mini at Apple’s flagship Fifth Avenue store; the white models reportedly sold out in mere minutes. It’s unclear how reception has been outside of New York City, but it’s clear people are excited about Apple’s newest member of the iPad family. Apple, going up against competitors Google and Amazon, is expected to sell over a million iPad mini units during launch weekend, according to Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster.

It’ll be interesting to see what the upshot is once Apple announces sales, which the company typically does the Monday following weekend sales. More here.

Twitter Allegedly Prepping Photo Filters for its Mobile Applications

Twitter is reportedly lining up a new photo filterting feature aimed at taking Instagram head-on. According to The New York Times, the San Francisco-based social media company, which processes just under a billion Tweets every 48 hours, is hoping avid Tweeters will bypass the use of Instagram altogether and instead use Twitter’s new filters when sharing photos. Twittergram?

The update is allegedly landing in the coming months, though people with knowledge of Twitter’s plans didn’t share precisely when. The social network’s scheme was put into high gear following Facebook’s acquisition of Instagram earlier this year, NYT said.

It was said Twitter had planned to purchase a company like Camera+, but those plans seem to have been scrapped in favor of creating its own system — much like the one Facebook launched with its own camera app.

“After meeting with an appraising some companies, Twitter’s executives decided the price tags were not worth the goods, and decided the company could build its own filters instead,” NYT wrote.

Instagram is a pretty formidable social media service in its own right, with monthly traffic supposedly surpassing Twitter. Twitter’s plans aren’t all that surprising; what is puzzling is the fact that it’s taken the company so long to come up with an answer to Facebook’s Instagram purchase. But it sounds like we’ll see something of interest sometime early next year. More here.

Nov 3, 2012

Apple Lightning to Micro USB Adapter Available Now for $19

Check this little guy out. If you have any microUSB cables sitting around the house, this Lightning adapter will let you sync your iPhone, iPad or iPod without a problem. It’s teeny-tiny, but it’ll likely appease plenty of people with multiple cables, or even a USB charger. There’s not much else to report, it’s obviously only compatible with Apple’s latest set of products: the iPhone 5, iPod touch 5th gen, iPod nano 7th gen, iPad 4th gen and iPad mini. The Lightning to Micro USB adapter is available now (1-3 business day ship time) for $19.00. More here.

Samsung: 30 Million Galaxy S III Units Sold Worldwide

The company has sold, as opposed to shipped, 30 million Samsung Galaxy S III devices worldwide. That’s quite the impressive figure, and shows a substantial growth of 10 million units in just two months. Samsung’s announcement comes on the heels of news in which the company said 3 million Galaxy Note II units have been sold across the world.

It’s fantastic news for Samsung, and Android as a whole, as we head into the busy holiday season. Samsung revealed just how much time and effort went into the making of its S III, and the numerous rave reviews — and now, sales — show it was all time well spent. With Jelly Bean rolling out to the device all over the world, we can expect sales to only increase during the final stretch of 2012. More here.

Nov 2, 2012

Yes, There is Already an iPad Mini Installed in a car Dashboard

What's that? You had dreams of being the first person in the world with an iPad Mini installed in your 2012 Toyota's dashboard? Well consider those dreams dashed, as Tampa, Florida's Soundwaves is way ahead of you. Like, "they already did it" ahead of you. That regular old iPad you've got in your car? Boooring.

The folks at Soundwaves had a dashboard setup fabricated ahead of the Mini's launch this morning, and filmed themselves performing the installation.

Apple Files Anti-theft Patent That Uses Accelerometers to Detect Theft-like Movement

What kind of movement does a theft entail? Apple's in the process of figuring that out, today filing a patent application for a, "acceleration-based theft detection system for portable electronic devices." Apple pickers: you've just been put on watch. According to the patent filing, said device would activate an alarm of some form after determining, "whether a theft condition is present." It'll apparently figure that out based on the accelerometer built into many of Apple's mobile devices -- the same thing that figures out which way you're holding your phone. Beyond just the hardware, said theft protection system would work in concert with software to determine if the movement matches a pre-determined "profile characteristic of theft."

Of course, Apple's not the only one worried about mobile device theft, as Google already patented just such a device pertaining to its Project Glass concept. But the you'd have to be pretty brazen to steal the glasses off of someone's face without "accidentally" socking them in the eye. More here.

Nov 1, 2012

Apple Seeds iOS 6.1 Beta to Developers

Apple just launched iOS 6.0.1 to consumers, but it also began seeding the latest beta, iOS 6.1, to developers on Thursday.

The update is available for anyone with a developer account and who owns an iPhone, iPad or iPod touch, and 9to5Mac said Xcode 4.6 beta is also included in the package. iOS 6.1 includes a new MapKit that allows developers to “programmatically search for map-based addresses and points of interest” and return relevant information. “For example, searching the string “coffee’ would return the location of local coffee bars along with information about each one,” Apple explained.

It’s unclear what else is in the beta build, but it appears that Apple’s default Maps application is still included in its existing form. More here.

Samsung's Galaxy S III Mini Packs Bags for November 8th UK Arrival

Samsung just revealed that the half-pint Galaxy S III mini that debuted in Germany will arrive in the UK on November 8th. The 4-inch, WVGA super-amoled, dual-core smartphone will alight toting Android 4.1 Jelly Bean and all that entails, like Google Now and the whole butter thing. You'll also get Samsung's video and games hub plus a 50GB Dropbox for two years if you nab the device, along with all the TouchWiz-y doodads like S-Voice and Direct Call. Phones4U announced it was taking preorders for the device earlier, which will be free on contract for £25 and up. More here.

Oct 31, 2012

Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs Gets Horrifying Halloween Trailer

The sequel to Frictional Games’ stupendously terrifying Amnesia: The Dark Descent, subtitled A Machine for Pigs, is due sometime in 2013. What with today being the spookiest day of the year, the collaborating (as Frictional is teaming up with the chinese room) indie developers decided it was a great time to release a trailer.

A trailer that provided a nice morning scare for me.

If you watched the onset of the trailer and find yourself wondering when, exactly, the horrifying stuff starts, make sure you wait until around the one minute mark. The next bits that follow are exactly why I can’t handle games like Amnesia and its upcoming sequel.

Android Now Has Just as Many Apps as iOS

Apple recently said that there are 700,000 iOS applications in its iTunes App Store. Google’s Android platform, which has typically trailed Apple’s iOS in terms of the number of applications available to its users, is now all caught up.

AllThingsD today said that a Google source has confirmed that it now also has more than 700,000 applications. That’s impressive growth for Android, which hasn’t had an app store as long as Apple has. Meanwhile, Microsoft said yesterday that the Windows Phone Store has 120,000 applications, but that it’s also growing quickly. More here.

Google Search app for iOS Updated with new Voice Search Functionality, iPhone 5 Compatibility

Google just released an updated version of its Search app for Android devices yesterday, and it's now (aspromised) also delivered a fairly big update to iOS users. That brings with it iPhone 5 compatibility, but the bigger news is the expanded voice search functionality, which promises "faster and significantly improved voice recognition," with spoken responses à la Google Now provided alongside the search results. Those additions also extend to iPad users in addition to the iPhone and iPod touch -- get it here.

Oct 30, 2012

Tetris Ported to a Jack-o'-lantern

What happens when you gut a pumpkin and replace its insides with heat-shrink tubing, solder, 128 LEDs, eight AA batteries, an Arduino board and clever programming? You get what self-proclaimed tinkerer Nathan Pryor calls "Pumpktris." Over the years we've seen the classic puzzle game Tetris ported to some amazing things, but a piece of fruit? Just in time for Halloween, this high-tech spin on the jack-o'-lantern features a fully playable Tetris game controlled from the pumpkin's joystick stem. 

Whether you're a hardcore do-it-yourselfer, or a diehard Tetris fan hoping to top the system's high score (9,800 points), you can build your very own Pumpktris. Of course, its creator estimates it'll take around 12 hours or longer to build the custom LED matrix and joystem and carve up the gourd of your choice.

Survey of 1,200 People Reveals 52 Percent Have Never Heard of Windows 8

Out of a pool of 1,200 adults, 52 percent said they’d never heard of Windows 8 leading up to last week’s release. For all of Microsoft’s wining and dining of the tech-savvy crowd — it seems the revamped software isn’t in the average consumer conscious. The company was always going to fight an uphill battle when marketing its new OS vision.

According to The Associated Press and GfK, of those who had heard of Windows 8, 61 percent said they had little to no interest in buying a computer running Microsoft’s newest OS. About 35 percent of people who were somewhat familiar with the new system felt it would not be an improvement over Windows 7.

One 43-year-old engineer, Chris Dionne, who knew Windows 8 was coming, said he isn’t “thrilled [Microsoft is] changing things around” when Windows 7 already does what he wants it to.

Additionally, the poll highlights the lack of interest surrounding Microsoft’s Surface, which launched in conjunction with Windows 8. Of those surveyed, 69 percent admitted they had little to no interest in the device, which is a product Microsoft is hoping will fit into a tablet/laptop niche.

Microsoft’s approach to the changing market is admirable and something that strays pretty significantly from iOS and Android. The company’s task of marketing Windows 8 (and Windows Phone 8, and its two Surface tablets) was always going to be difficult. It’ll be interesting to see how consumers receive Microsoft’s new direction now that all its cards are on the table, especially since it does offer compelling features, such as a new modern user interface and full touchscreen support in laptops and PCs. More here.

Oct 29, 2012

The 16GB Nexus 7 Is Now Just $200

Google just took the lid off a 32GB Nexus 7 tablet, and dropped the price of the 16GB model from $250 to $200. The bigger version is $249.

This confirmed earlier suspicions from price leaks to third-party retailers that Google would make its flagship tablet cheaper. In spite of the cancellation of Google's event because of Hurricane Sandy, the news is still moving along—Google also revealed the 10-inch Nexus 10 to rival the iPad. The 32GB Nexus 7 also comes in an HSPA+ version for $300. The tablet goes on sale on November 13. More here.