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Thursday, January 17, 2008

The All NEW Updated iPhone

We didn't get a 3G iPhone at Macworld, but at least we got a software update that brings pseudo-GPS abilities, customizable home pages and more to Apple's coveted handheld. Here’s a few quick first impressions.

GPS: Actually, we're not talking actual GPS here; instead, this update to the iPhone's Maps app triangulates your position according to your distance from the nearest cell phone towers. You activate the feature by tapping a little bulls-eye in the left-hand corner of the Maps interface; 10 to 30 seconds later, a blue circle appears on the map showing your approximate location—and "approximate" is the key word. In my first few tries, the circle encompassed almost a third of Manhattan—a pretty massive swath of land, and not terribly helpful for, say, finding the nearest ATM. A couple of tries later, however, Maps found my location within a block; not bad at all.

Customizing the home page: Used to be you had to hack your iPhone to tweak the icons on the home page. Now you just touch and hold an icon, and all the icons begin to wiggle; next, just drag the icon wherever you want it to go, even on a subsequent home page (you get a total of nine). Also nice: you can turn Web pages in the mobile Safari into icons on the home page. (Apple calls them Webclips, but they don't work like the real-time, updating Webclips widgets in Mac OS X Leopard.) The wiggling, moveable icons will come in especially handy once third-party iPhone apps become widely available.

Chapters, subtitles, and languages: I was only able to test chapter support for videos (I don't have any iTunes movies with subtitles or alternate languages yet), and it worked nicely; you just tap an icon to the right of the playback controls, and the video image flips around, revealing chapter titles, thumbnails and time elapsed.

Lyrics: Not as impressive as the other new features, if you ask me. Basically, if you have a song in your iPhone tagged with song lyrics (select a song in iTunes, click Command-I, and click the Lyrics tab to add lyrics) field, you just tap the cover art while the song is playing to see the words. Unfortunately, the lyrics display on the iPhone seems to do away with line breaks, which makes a mess of nicely formatted choruses and the link. Pretty disappointing.

SMS messages for multiple recipients: One of the most puzzling omissions on the iPhone has finally been fixed; at last, you can send text messages to multiple recipients at once. Of course, the only drawback is that if you get into a back-and-forth with one recipient, everyone in the group will get your replies, which could get a little confusing. Still, a welcome improvement.

Note: Like each of the previous software updates for the iPhone, this latest patch will wreak havoc with hacked handsets; expect any unauthorized applications (including iPhone unlocking apps) to be wiped clean by the update.

New iPod Upscale Video to HD

A couple of upcoming iPod docks come with the standard "video out" feature, but with a twist—they'll upscale your images to 720p or 1080i. Pretty nice, but don't expect a full-on HD image, and brace yourself for the respective price tags.

Straight out of Macworld comes the DLO HomeDock HD, a sleek iPod dock with an HDMI output (along with composite and S-Video connections), an RF remote, and the ability to upscale standard-def iPod video to 720p or 1080i. Now, let's make something clear from the get-go: like upscaling DVD players, an upscaling iPod dock won't magically turn your iPod video into crystal-clear HD. Instead, upscaling devices interpolate 480p signals to take better advantage of 720p- and 1080i-capable displays. The results vary, of course; in the case of the DLO HomeDock HD, CrunchGear blogger Matt Hickey was impressed enough with the demo to call the HomeDock one of the cooler offerings at Macworld.

Another new contender: the Creative Xdock HD, which not only handles HD upscaling duties but also juices the audio as well, using a technology Creative calls "X-Fi Crystalizer" and CMSS-3D (enough initials for you?) to turn stereo sound from the iPod into full DTS surround sound (akin to receivers that convert stereo tracks to Dolby Digital Pro Logic II surround). Even better, the Xdock HD (which debuted last week at CES) can wirelessly transmit audio to the bundled X-Fi receiver.

Good stuff, but neither of these high-end docks come cheap: the DLO HomeDock HD will retail for $249 when it hits stores this spring, while the Xdock HD (also due this spring) will sell $399.

40 hour laptop batteries

Imagine running your laptop nonstop from New York to Tokyo -- crunch some numbers, work on a memo pop in a few DVDs -- and then do a full day of meetings, using your machine throughout the day and into the night. Imagine doing all this without ever plugging in your computer to recharge its battery.

This scenario may become reality in the near future, if Stanford University scientists succeed in commercializing a breakthrough in the laboratory. Assistant Professor Yi Cui and associates at Stanford's Department of Materials Science and Engineering said they have developed a method to increase the life of rechargeable lithium ion batteries to a whopping 40 hours.

Publishing in the journal Nature Nanotechnology, the Stanford researchers have shown that by using silicon nanowires as the battery anode instead of today's graphite, the amount of lithium the anode can hold is extended tenfold.

Revolution in Battery Design

"It's not a small improvement," Cui said. "It's a revolutionary development." And Cui means to move the development out of the lab as soon as possible. "We are working on scaling up and evaluating the cost of our technology," Cui said. "There are no roadblocks for either of these."

Cui has filed a patent on the technology and is evaluating the formation of a company or licensing the technology to a battery manufacturer. Potentially two-day batteries could be on the market within "several years," he said.

Silicon anodes are not a new idea. Researchers have known for some 30 years that they have the "highest theoretical charge capacity," but, until now, they haven't been practical because they change volume by 400 percent as lithium is inserted and extracted, the journal said. Cui's solution: a sponge-like network of tiny silicon nanowires, each of which expands but doesn't fracture.

"Nanowires grown directly on the current collector do not pulverize or break into smaller particles after cycling," the journal reports. "Rather, facile strain relaxation in the nanowires allows them to increase in diameter and length without breaking."

The Many Advantages of Nanowires

Not only can the nanowires handle the extreme volume changes, they also "provide good electronic contact and conduction, and display short lithium insertion distances," Cui wrote. "We achieved the theoretical charge capacity for silicon anodes and maintained a discharge capacity close to 75 percent of this maximum, with little fading during cycling."

The nanowires are grown directly on the metallic substrate that collects current, a process that has several advantages, Cui explained. First, the nanowires' small diameter can better accommodate the four-fold expansion in volume without fracturing. In addition, each nanowire is electrically connected to the metallic current collector, so all the nanowires contribute to battery capacity.

The nanowires also offer efficient "charge transport" and eliminate the need for additives to conduct electricity, which add weight, the journal stated. In addition to Cui, the researchers were Candace K. Chan, Hailin Peng, Gao Liu, Kevin McIlwrath, Xiao Feng Zhang and Robert A. Huggins.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Use Wi-Fi on the iPod touch to connect to the Internet using Safari web browser

When you use any of these applications,YouTube, or iTunes Wi-Fi Music Store iPod touch does the following in order until it is connected:

Connects over the last Wi-Fi network you used that's available.

If no Wi-Fi networks you've used are available, iPod touch will scan for Wi-Fi networks and show a list of Wi-Fi networks in range. Tap a network and, if necessary, enter the password to join. Networks that require a password show a lock icon () next to them.

There is an Option to manually enter your Wi-Fi network name/SSID (if the Wi-Fi network is configured not to broadcast or be displayed to the public). If necessary, enter the password to join.

When iPod touch is connected to a Wi-Fi network, the Wi-Fi icon in the status bar at the top of the screen it will show connection strength. The more bars you see, the stronger the connection will be.

Wi-Fi Settings
Turn Wi-Fi on or off.
Choose Settings Wi-Fi and turn Wi-Fi on or off.

Set iPod touch to ask if you want to join a new Wi-Fi network.
When you are trying to access the Internet, by using Safari or YouTube for example, and you are not in range of a Wi-Fi network you have previously used, this option tells iPod touch to look for another network. iPod touch will display a list of all available Wi-Fi networks that you can choose from. Networks that require a password appear with a lock icon.

If your "Ask to Join New Networks" is turned off, you must manually join a network to connect to the Internet.

Choose Wi-Fi and turn "Ask to Join Networks" on or off. If you turn "Ask to Join Networks" off, you must join networks manually.

To join a Wi-Fi network manually.
Choose Wi-Fi, wait a moment as iPod touch detects networks in range, then choose a network. If necessary, enter a password and tap Join. Networks that require a password appear with a lock icon.

If you want to make iPod touch forget a network, so that the device doesn't join it automatically. Choose Wi-Fi and tap the arrow next to a network you've joined before. Then tap "Forget this Network."

If you want to connect to a closed Wi-Fi network (an available Wi-Fi network that isn't shown in the list of scanned networks).Choose Wi-Fi, then tap Other and enter the network name. If the network requires a password, choose Security, tap the type of security the network uses, and enter the password. You must already know the network name, password, and security type to connect to a closed network. Some Wi-Fi networks may require you to enter or adjust additional settings, such as a client ID or static IP address.

Adjust settings to connect to a Wi-Fi network
Choose Wi-Fi, then tap the arrow () next to a network.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

iGoogle Is Now Available For Your Apple iPhone

Interesting iGoogle Themes!, now you get to enjoy iGoogle on your iPhone as well.iPhone users can access it directly through http://google.com/ig/i, though it should automatically redirect you when you attempt to access iGoogle. You can customize iGoogle for RSS reader, news on a range of topics, email, weather maps, online Tetris, crossword puzzles and tons more of cool features It lists all the gadgets and feeds in a single column.

New MySpace security issue McAfee has notified both MySpace and Microsoft

Security Watch is reporting a new MySpace security issue. The hack sendS an authentic looking patch from Microsoft to a person's computer, once they have clicked on a link to view a person's profile.

Once install the virus by hitting run, it opens a back door on the compromised machine and proceeds to download more down loaders, Trojans and a remote control tool from multiple servers. The infected files are coming from servers located in Malaysia and the Ukraine. McAfee has notified both MySpace and Microsoft but, at the time of writing, the booby-trapped MySpace profile was still live and serving up the malicious file.

When the article was published 01/13/08, MySpace had not fixed the issue, odds are very likely that they will be doing so in the future if not today as news gets out. The problem with getting this information out,is not everyone who uses MySpace reads security blogs or security news sites. Odds are most likely that there are going to be a huge number of people running around with compromised and virus infected computers.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

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