Tuesday, January 31, 2012

YouTube gets New Video Editor

It's still not an Adobe After Effects or Adobe Premiere on the web (yet), but YouTube's video editing tools are getting better and better.

If you have been around for a while, you'll certainly remeber the days where internet video was a synonym for RealPlayer, with blocky, low resolution crappy videos; and remember that even YouTube as well was regarded as a crazy site that would never succeed... Well... We all know how that worked out...

Besides the revamped video editor, Google team has also made it easier to browse and manage videos. But that's something that won't be as fun as editing and remixing videos on the YouTube Video Editor, and reminding yourself constantly: your doing it inside a browser window!

Monday, January 30, 2012

New Samsung Galaxy S Advance

Having trouble trying to figure out which Samsung Galaxy S you should get? Well, things are about to become even more complicated with the new Galaxy S Advance. It has a 1Ghz dual-core CPU, 768MB of RAM, and 16GB Flash; but instead of the new HD resolution displays found on the Galaxy Nexus, it sticks to a 800x480 Super AMOLED screen, and just HSPA 14.4Mbps  connections. It has  5MP and 1.3MP cameras, and sadly... no Ice Cream Sandwhich for it yet, as it's being announced with Android 2.3.

All that's left to know is its price, that must be cheap enough not to make people opt for the better Galaxy S2... but not that expensive that makes people wait out one more generation in order to get their hands on Ice Cream Sandwich Android smartphones...

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Free GPS Navigation App for Portugal

If you ever happen to visit Portugal and need to get your bearings straight, there's always the possibility of using a GPS navigation App in your iPhone or Android device. But, most time you might have to spend money aquiring a new map, or buy a new app... And online solutions like Google Maps, use up valuable roaming data that is obscenely overcharged. So, why not forget about all that and do it without spending a cent?

Thanks to TMN (a national cell phone operator) we can now have a completely free GPS navigation App to drive around Portugal: TMN Drive for the iPhone; TMN Drive for Android.

This App is based on a well known portuguese developed GPS navigation system call NDrive, that is currently being used by many navigation Apps under customized versions, and besides the obvious advantage of beeing free, it has probably the most comprehensive database of PoI (Points of Interest) of them all: over 700 thousands!

Extra features, like live traffic info and extra maps will still cost you extra. But for the most part, you can use it for free. Something to keep in mind should you ever come driving to our cozy little country. :)

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Google Earth gets Seamless Terrain

If you're like me - that regularly gets drawn into peeking into Google Earth just for a few moments, and end up spending hours there, mesmerized by the beauty of our planet - then you should get worried. That's because Google has just launched Google Earth 6.2 which offers much improved visual quality. You can say goodbye to the traditional quilt text terrain textures where you could see where each section was stitched, has Google Earth now offers a apparently seamless worldwide texture!

As you can see in the images above, the "before" and "after" images speak for themselves.

Google didn't tell us (yet) how they were able to make all those different captures look so similar - but the truth is that Microsoft was already doing it as well in their Bing Maps.

As for other improvements, you can expect enhanced search features and Google+ sharing.

If your Google Earth didn't update automatically, you can get the new Google Earth 6.2 here.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Portuguese Authors Association Caught Faking Authors Names

While the entire world is revolting against SOPA/PIPA and other abusive anti-piracy laws, in Portugal there's a little know association called SPA that allegedly cares of authors best interests. It's an association that already receives levies on each and every virgin CD and DVD sold, no matter what it is used for: whenever you're storing your family photos on a DVD, you're paying them for it. And it still unclear how much of that money really makes it to authors themselves...

But, they think they don't receive enough, and now they're trying to pass a new "Private Copy Law" with which they hope to put a tax on every digital storage device! A few cents for every Gigabyte on every hard drive, memory card, embedded flash storage, etc. A tax that is so obscene that would invert the usual market tendencies where you get roughly the double amount of storage space for the same price every couple of year - and make presumable larger hard drives more and more expensive as they come to market. It's the Lei da Cópia Privada (PL118) and it would mean that even if used your hard drive just to store an operating system... you'd be paying for that "author's society" (and again, without really knowing which authors would get what).

This is causing a bug outcry from the portuguese society, and SPA has tried to validate their point by presenting a list of one hundred authors and artists that support this PL118 law. There's no denying that some author might thing its a good idea... even though it might look suspicious that they could get only a hundred of them among their 25k+ registered members; and even though that roughly 20% of those 100 are the association board members; the really horrendous part is that we now found that some of those nomes were put there without any consent from the authors!

António Pinho Vargas (one of my most appreciated Portuguese music composers, you should check his Tom Waits if you don't know him) has came forth and revealed that it has no idea of how his name got there, and that he was never contacted about it. More so, he said he doubts some of the other names he sees there, from friends of his, would have agreed to that as well!

I think this says it all regarding these "author protection associations"... When they have to resort to such low tactics and fake their own members names to support such ilogical laws, it's a sign that something really has to change! (And by that I don't mean taxing each and every gigabyte no matter what you intend to use it for!)

[My original portuguese post - and we made it to Boing Boing too! Thanks Cory!]

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Boxee Live TV

It's no secret there's a of effort going on to change the TV as we know it - just look at how important Google considers Google TV to be, not to mention the upcoming and possibly disrupting Apple TV offering that should come out during this year. Peopler are increasingly tired of traditional TV channels and cable operators, where you pay up for hundreds of channels even though you end up watching just a handful of programs.

Boxee is well known for they popular media center software and their Boxee Box. And to prove that on-demand and stored content can live hand-in-hand with live TV, hey now have Boxee Live TV, a small USV digitial TV tuner that allows your Boxee Box to add all the interactive social elements to live TV as well.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Ubuntu Trades Menus for HUD Interface

It might sound strange to hear Ubuntu is working on making a more usable user interface for keyboard users, in a time where most people are flocking around touch devices which lack a keyboard; but indeed it is what it's doing. With version 12.04 LTS Ubuntu will offer a overlayed Head Up Display (HUD) which claims to make life easier for users tired of navigating through endless menu levels.

I don't if this will appease all those users that are highly critical of the Unity interface... But at least is seem like something different that might appeal for keyboard power users (though much of what it does can already be accomplished today using 4rd party programs).

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

LED Reading Lights for Books

Tablets and eBook readers may be on the rise, but there's still a lot of people out there that are unwilling to let go of their old (and new) paper books. And unlike their digital screen counterparts, when it gets dark... you can't really see whats printed on its pages.

The time of reading holding a flashlight are long gone, and today we have more comfortable ways of reading books during the night like this Philips bok reading LED light which uses light guides technology similar to the ones used on LCD screens, allowing the LEDs placed on the frame to evenly light a larger area.

Unfortunately, its price isn't that cheap (nearly 40 euros) so... here's a similar, but cheaper alternative:
This LED book reading light isn't rechargeable via USB like the Philips above, but costing under 5 euros, I guess most people won't mind that.

Monday, January 23, 2012

How to Fix Google Chrome Flash Crashes

Just the other day I was complaining that, being an intensive Google Chrome user, with two or three windows open with over twenty tabs on each, for weeks or months at a time without reboot (unless there's an update), I'm still surprised to see that most Chrome crashes are not caused by Chrome itself but due to the Flash plugin!

But now, it seems there's an explanation for it... and more importantly, a way to prevent it from happening again. It seems the problem is caused by having two different flash versions installed.
Chrome has its own internal Flash plugin, but most people are also likely to have the regular "installable" Flash plugin.

You need to check your Chrome plugin section (type "about:plugins" in the navbar) and check the Flash area.

If it states that it has "2 files", then it's likely you'll have problems and crashes.

The key is to disable either of them (click expand to see its details). I've chosen to disable the external Flash plugin - you can tell which is which by its location; the internal one will have a path containing Google\Chrome, the other most likely will be installed in another Windows folder. This way, I won't need to manually upadate Flash, or rely on yet another "Flash updater" task running on my system - Chrome will take care of that for me.

So, you just need to disable one, and restart Chrome, and to be sure, you can visit Adobe Flash's test page to really make sure everything is in working order.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Perfect Group Photos with GroupShot

Tired of taking dozens of photos to try and get the perfect group photo - the one where everyone has their eyes open and is looking at the camera? Then you'll certainly appreciate this App for iPhone and iPad: GroupShot.

With this App, you simply need two or three group shots, and it won't matter if someone is looking elsewhere, as long as you have at least one photo where each person is looking "right". Using this App you can simple select which persons (or areas) to replace with pieces from the other shots, and the results speak for themselves.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

FullHD Videochat with the Logitech C920

With all the technology at our disposal today, there are no excuses not to keep in touch with friends and family, even if they're on the other side of the world. And to prove that the days of those low quality blurry videocalls are over, Logitech has brought us the new HD Pro Webcam C920, a webcam that - for the first time - allows you to do videochats with FullHD 1080p quality.

For that, you need only to download the latest Skype 5.7 beta for windows (or newer versions). But even if you use Windows Live Messenger, you can still chat with HD 720p quality that will make your friends feel like they're seeing you with their own eyes.
As usual, you can also easily send your H.264 videos to YouTube, and send snapshots to Facebook and Twitter.

The Logitech HD Pro Webcam C920 should be hitting the stores anytime now, and has an estimated price of 99,99€.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Notification Control - Keep your Emails in Order

Tired of receiving emails whenever someone mentions you on a Tweet, or answers you on Facebook, or contacts you via Foursquare, or sends a message via YouTube, Ebay, LinkedIn, or Google+?

This Notification Control is handy shortcut list that allows you to quickly jump to each service notification settings, where you'll be able to turn it off or adjust it as you wish. It certain beat having to look for each and every settings page in each service (not to mention that some of those might not be easy to find.)

This way, you don't have to worry about giving permissions to a 3rd party service, as this site will just provide the links to each service official pages.
Might come in handy when your email notifications get out of control.

 [via TNW]

Thursday, January 19, 2012

How to Install iOS5 on iPhone 2G and iPod Touch 1G

iPhone and iPod Touch users might not have much to complain about system updates from Apple. Unlike other platforms, where devices are launched with outdated system versions, and support seems lacking even for devices barely a year old; with iPhones, users have grown accustomed to have official support and updates for a long time.

That's not to say that inevitably, older devices just can't keep up with the system improvements - even though sometimes some limitations are deliberately put in place by Apple, like not having Siri on the iPhone - which means that iPhone 2G and the original iPod Touch users have been left behind when iOS5 came out.

But... if you're still patient enough to be using one of those devices (let me tell you, I really admire you if you do) now you can try iOS5 on the iPhone 2G and iPod Touch 1st Gen thanks to this Whited00r.

I wouldn't expect it to work wonders for your device... but if you're tired of finding Apps that refuse to work in older iOS... this might buy some extra time before upgrading to a newer iDevice.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Internet Against SOPA and PIPA

If you try to visit Wikipedia today you'll be redirected to a page that reminds you just how easily any site could be shut down if laws like SOPA and PIPA get approved in the USA. Laws that, under the disguise of copyright and piracy fighting would give some entities the power to easily shut down and block any website they deemed "undesirable".

They're not alone. All over the net, hundreds of sites join in this fight, like ARStechnica's SOPA Resistance Day and even Google.

In the radio, I've heard some news about this... and the regular media still seems to be missing the point, as they only state that these sites are opposing anti-piracy laws, in a way that makes them seem "pro-piracy" - which is definitely not the case.

The case here is that, under the "stop piracy" claim, these laws can easily be abused and effectively censor any site they choose. Just imagine... someone leaves a comment on your site/forum/blog linking to infringing content, and your entire site can be blocked and you can even face criminal charges...

Sure, we need new ways for copyright holders to be compensated by their works... but it isn't with laws like this that well get there.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Preview your Dream Home with Augmented Reality

What do you think about being able to preview how your dream house will look like, on site, before spending a single cent? That's exactly what you can do right now, providing you have a SketchUp 3D model of your future home and an iPhone or iPad to use this free 3DOn App. which allows you to preview it on-site, thanks to the "magic" of augmented reality.

The App has several different viewing modes:
  • Preview - lets you overlay your model onto a photograph of your site
  • Walk - lets you explore your model inside and out
  • On-Site - lets you view your model where it will stand, in real time, using augmented reality.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Parrot AR.Drone 2 gets HD Video

Remember Parrot's AR.Drone? Well, if you were just about to reach for your wallet and engage these awesome quadcopter aerial fights, you better hold off for a while, because AR.Drone 2 is coming, and it certainly looks to be worth the wait.

For starters, say goodbye to the choppy low quality video; the new AR.Drone not obnly bumps the resolution to HD 720p video, it streams it to your iPhone or iPad with silk smooth precision. And talking about precision, with its new array of sensors (3D digital compass and barometer) the AR.Drone 2 can fly higher and more accurately than ever. It can even take photos or record videos along preset routes - the first sign of domestic anti-burgalry UAVs to come? ;)

And best of all, this new AR.Drone 2 price should be roughly the same as the previous model ($300) when it comes to market on the second quarter this year.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Multitouch Globe from Displax

Once a rarity, multitouch screens have now become quite common thanks to the proliferation of touch smartphones and tablets. However, there are still a few things that might make you think "wow, that's cool!" - just like real flat screens once did to generations of people used to bulky and curved CRT screens.

If you think you had seen it all regarding touchscreens, let me present you a multitouch curved globe screen, made by the Portuguese company Displax (they have lots other interesting touch things, like a multitouch skin that can turn any glass pane into a multitouch surface, up to 100").

See it in action, and how it can turn Google Earth into a true "globe" experience:

DISPLAX Multitouch Globe from DISPLAX™ Interactive Systems on Vimeo.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

YouTube Gets Instant Timeline Previews

YouTube might be the most popular video site on the internet, but its video player can still learn from others; and at last it's about to receive a much welcomed update that will make jumping into any section of a video much easier. Soon you'll be able to see a small image preview as you move your mouse over the timeline.

This way, you won't have to click around blindly, hoping to get to the right spot and wasting valuable bandwidth. You'll be able to see if that's what you want...

Technically, YouTube generates a 10x10 storyboard collage of 100 images of the video, making it really efficient to be able to show those timeline previews - as you can see in the image above.

Now we just have to wait for this to go live for every one of us and for the already uploaded videos.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Windows Phone Faster than Competition

If you attended CES 2012 you might have come across an original challenge: you could win $100 just by pitching your phone against an Windows Phone, as long as your phone was faster.

There were several challenges, from sendind SMS to taking a photo and sharing it on Twitter... and surprisingly, after 34 attempts, Windows Phone had won 30, had 1 draw, and only lost on 3 attempts.
Not that I think Windows Phones are slow... but when pitted against iPhone 4S, Galaxy S2 and Galaxy Nexus... I wouldn't put my money on it.

But, more than the device itself, the key issue was the user: and that explains why all of the 3 winning devices (iPhone 4S, Droid Bionic and Galaxy Neux) were also present among the 30 losing ones.

In any case, it sure was a nice way to promote Windows Phones...

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Feedair - a Digital Text Balloon

Ever wished you could keep an eye on your latest emails, Twitter or Facebook feed, or any other RSS feed by that matter?

That exactly what this Feedair has to offer, giving you a glimpse on your most important realtime info without the need for a PC screen. Some ideas jump to mind: keeping an eye on remote server status; home conditions (like temperature/motion sensors status, etc.); or any other number of things I can imagine you're considering right now.

With a estimated price of $50 and being solidly built out of aluminum, I can expect it won't have trouble finding lots of interested buyers. In fact, I just wonder why this sort of physical "widget" devices isn't more common? Is it due to lack of offers, or expensive prices, or what?

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Battery Amplifier App Scam in the App Store

Sure, snake oil is being sold over the ages since immemorial times; but the last place I would expect to see it would be in Apple's own App Store, as it happens with a range of Apps popping up promising to amplify your iPhone battery!

I would expect any iPhone owner would have a couple of neurons working, and at least be intelligent enough to look for information regarding how batteries work... or simply have a bit of plain common sense.

In this App feature list we find things as:

  • 100% automated Charging.Plug and go! - Oh really, don't you tell!
  • Supports high res Retina display! - Wow! Amazing!
  • Channeling charge in background on your device! - Mindboggling!
  • Charges while device is closed/locked! - Surely, something worth patenting!
  • Varios themes available! - Scamming with style!
  • Multiple tips how to conserve your battery power! - At least something that could possible be worthwhile... but it's too little too late.

If one of the closed App Store benefits is to protect iPhone owners from "bad" Apps, how can Apple allow for such a blatant scam to keep going on in the App Store? 

Considering this is a paid app, and was in the "top" lists... I immediately started wondering... should I create a WiFi extender App, that promisses to extend your iPhone WiFi range by 25% - and even more (via In App purchases, of course)?

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Snowball Throwing in Android.com Easter Egg

If you're feeling like throwing up some snow balls, but the weather out there doesn't allow it - as in: no snow around - then you simply need to head up to Android.com and click on the bottom left green Android.

These hidden software features are referred to as "Easter Eggs", and have been around since... well... since programmers first start writing code. Some of them have become really memorable, such as the hidden flight simulator in MS Excel (which might help you understand why sometimes programs use up more than their fair share of megabytes ;P)

Monday, January 9, 2012

Android Tablet with 1920x1200 Resolution

Tablets like the iPad and Transformer may be on the top list for anyone looking for this kind of devices. But soon... they'll both be looked upon as pre-historic models of what Tablets really are. Just like its smaller smartphone devices, in 2012 tablets will also step up into high-density higher resolution devices... With the iPad 3 offering a "retina display" screen, and Android tablets following suit.

Just check out this Acer Iconia A700 de 10.1" with a resolution that would be more usually associated with 20-26" screens: 1920x1200!
And if you think such a resolution would mean it would crawl to an halt whenever trying to slide and zoom around the screen... just check the following video to see the power of Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich when powered by the latest Tegra 3 from Nvidia.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

A Kid's Room - Then and Now

Feeling kind of nostalgic, I couldn't resist but share with you just how things have changed in the past decades.

I can really relate to that image. 30 years ago, our world was much smaller than it is today. We knew a few friends, neighbors... and that was about it. People talked about the news, and the programs they'd seen in the 2 TV channels we had back then.

I still recall people complaining when we got from 2 to 4 TV channels, saying that way they wouldn't be able to talk to discuss thing with friends like before... because each one could have seen a different channel... (Heck, I still remember the TV channel having openening and closing hours, with the national anthem playing at the end of the emission.)

Today, the entire world is just a few milliseconds away. On the internet, twitter, facebook, youtube... Sure I wouldn't trade it for anything... but it wouldn't be bad to think about it from time to time.

(I still recall gazing through huge and heavy ATLAS books, with photos and images of our planet... and imagining: someday, we'll be able to zoom in on any part of the globe and see it close... Something I'll forever thank Google for accomplishing with their Google Earth project (although there were similar services before in the younger years of the internet).

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Naked Man in Childs Ads?

As it is said: reality is stranger than fiction... And if you had any doubts, what else would you think if someone told you that a popular fashion company like La Redoute would publish a child clothing ad, with a group of young children happily playing and smiling on a beach... while a naked man was roaming by?

It really sounds another of those internet myths, but it was in fact true... and I can't stop but wondering: either a lot of people working in those ads seriously needs to have their eyesight checked; or this was a bad taste (but certainly effective) plot to make its brand rise up in the internet/media buzz... even if for the wrong causes.

Friday, January 6, 2012

TidyTilt Magnetic Cover for iPhone

The iPhone 4/$s might be a beauty to behold... but in real life beauty is often plagued by things like headphone cables and USB power cable always tangling up, not being able to place your iPhone in a suitable position to leave it standing on a table, or even risck scratching it every time you place it somewhere.

That's where TidyTilt for the iPhone jumps in to save the day.

It's a Kickstater project, funded by supporters like you and me, and it gets its inspiration in the magnetic smart cover of the iPad 2. With its camaleonic properties, it can act as a simple iPhone protection mount, as well as a cable tidy and as a tilt stand - besides giving your iPhone magnetic properties that make it "stick" to any metal surface (yes, you can finally leave youe iPhone stuck on your fridge.)

Best of all, it starts and $19 per TidyTilt, and can get even cheper if you get some friends to join in and buy a bulk pack.

TidyTilt for iPhone HD from TidyTilt on Vimeo.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Lego Awesome Machine

Until now, I would have told you that I sincerely thought I was an intensive LEGO player in my younger years, spending entire afternoons assembling and reassembling LEGO pieces and creating the most fantastic contraptions my mind could come up with.

But now... all those memories are shattered... If you thought you (or know someone who claims) to be a real LEGO expert... just watch, and be amazed, by how LEGOs were put to use in the fantastic machine(s) in the following video:

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Knowtilus - The Talking Browser for iOS

If you're tired of wasting time with Safari in your iPhone or iPad and wish there was a simpler way to translate foreign content web pages and do things like... making your iPhone read a web page aloud; then you need to check this Knowtilus.

For starters, it can easily translate and read you any webpage, in dozens of supported languages!

But there's more:  there's a reader mode, RSS feed support, translator (like previsouly said) offline articles for later reading, sharing via social networks, QR scanner, writing tool, and even the ability to sketch over any webpage!

It sure could use a major revamp on its interface, which can be quite cumbersome at times... But if you value "value" over "beauty", then you'll want to give it a try (and be sure to check their help videos to see all you can do with it.)

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Dropbox Automator

If you recall the amazing If this then that, that allows you to "cook" up your recipes for automating things you might want to do but didn't think were possible to do with just a few clicks; and if you're a fan of Dropbox: you'll love this Dropbox Automator.

Sure, you have to grant it access to your Dropbox files (if you're not to sure about that, you can simply create a new dummy Dropbox account just to test it), but other than that... it can work wonders with your files and save you hours of your precious time.

For instance, you can use it to keep watch on a folder, and then do stuff like: resizing and uploading all the photos you place on that folder to Facebook; or convert those files to PDF; or upload it to Google Docs; or lots other options.

It might not be as versatile as IFTT, but ir can really be of value to dropbox fans willing to save time on "boring" tasks.

[via Lifehacker]

Monday, January 2, 2012

Skycam Falls Down During Game

One would think the time to fear the sky falling down over our heads was long gone, but for american football players, it seems there's a new reason to wear protection helmets.

During a game, a SkyCam - a camera rig suspended by cables over the playing field, which allows the recording of spectacular images from its vantage point, and zoom along at up to 13m/s (nearly 30 mph) - came tumbling down... barely missing the Iowa sideline player Marvin McNutt!

Looks like players will have to keep an eye up high in the sky from now on... just to be safe. :)

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