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October 2 2012 3 02 /10 /October /2012 05:51

The new iPad has been and gone, sporting a chunkier and heavier build than the iPad 2, which left some wondering: what's with all the extra weight?

However, it looks like Apple may be about to aid those conscious of extra grams in their bags, as rumours hot up about a potential iPad Mini (or iPad nano, if you prefer) arriving later this year.

As the Amazon Kindle Fire steals the budget tablet show and with more small, cheap tablets coming all the time, such as the Google Nexus 7, Apple may well want a bite of the, well, apple.

Best cheap tablets 2012: top budget options

Back in 2010, former Apple CEO Steve Jobs said that smaller screened tablets were not "sufficient to create great tablet apps" and would be "dead on arrival", so rumours suggesting a new iPad mini is in the works reveals a potentially new direction for the firm in its post-Jobs era.

Believe it or not, there's certainly a lot of chat surrounding the iPad Mini, so we've scooped it all up, mushed it all together and expelled it into a handy round up, allowing you to keep track of every twist and turn.

If you're pressed for time then check out our iPad Mini rumour roundup video below.

iPad Mini Rumours VIdeoWatch more videos like this01:06

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Update: A new report has examined the prospects for an iPad Mini - and how it might contribute to the company's bottom line, particularly with gamers and the educational market.

According to analyst Ben A. Reitzes, the iPad Mini would not be a threat to Apple's current domination with the New iPad, and is likely to be a favourite among gamers as well as educational institutes, particularly with the electronic textbooks introduced earlier this year.

Update: And if you were ever wondering, will Apple really go with the iPad Mini name, an "Asian source" quoted by a Japanese site seems confident that yes, it really will be called the iPad Mini. Wow.

iPad Mini release date


There's not even an official sign from Apple that the iPad Mini/iPad nano is in the works, so a release date for the tablet is even more up in the air.

However, if the rumours turn out to be true, we can expect Apple to start rolling out the iPad Mini very soon after an extraordinarily over-hyped launch event. Most rumours suggest it's likely to happen well before Christmas.

Analyst Shaw Wu says the "exact timing" for an iPad mini release date "is difficult to predict", but said its launch is a "question of when, not if." Pretty confident are we, Shaw?

When Apple announced its annual WWDC event running from June 11-15, which sold out in just two hours, there was some speculation that we could see the Cupertino firm announce the iPad mini there, but no new iPad broke cover at WWDC.

The latest rumour in the mill of iPad Mini release dates comes from an unknown source (*sigh*), which claims we'll see Apple take to the stage on September 12 to show off the next handset, alongside the iPhone 5 - however tech journalist John Gruber doesn't think Apple would launch the two products at the same time, instead opting for two separate events to get maximum exposure for each.

Update: October has been mooted by an AllThingsD source as the month which the iPad Mini will arrive - "Only after the next generation iPhone is out the door and on sale will Apple announce the smaller iPad it's been working on. That device, which is expected to have a display of less than eight inches, will be uncrated at a second special event, which sources said is currently scheduled for October."

Or... the iPad Mini may be getting its own launch event in November, because stock of the tablet won't be ready for a September release.

Update: News has broken suggesting that Foxconn, the only manufacturer of iPads, as lost between 50 and 60 percent of iPad Mini productionto Chinese manufacturer Pegatron. This could signal production of the pint-sized tablet getting stepped up as Apple looks to launch the device next month.

Previous iPad Mini release date rumours include:

Update: A report straight out of China suggests that key Apple manufactures Foxconn and Pegatron have started to receive orders for the new iPad mini. It goes on to say the factories will have 6 million units ready for a launch in Q3 of 2012.

Update: An iMore source claims that the iPad Mini will be ready by October 2012. Hold on to your hats people!

Update: A Taiwanese source has claimed that the mini iPad will be in the hands of consumers before Christmas, with a third quater launch on the cards.

Update: According to Bloomberg, an unnamed source said a tablet with a screen size of "7 to 8 inches diagonally" will arrive before 2012 reaches its close.

Update: The Wall Street Journal reports that sources in Apple's Asian supply chain have revealed the iPad Mini will go into production from September.

iPad Mini price


It's thought that Apple's idea behind the iPad nano is to tackle the budget end of the market, where the Amazon Kindle Fire is currently king.


Apple is known for its extravagant products, launch events and pricing policies, but the iPad Mini may herald a new era for those who long for an Apple device, but simply can't part with an arm and a leg to buy one.

The New York Times has spoken to people "with knowledge of the project", who claim the iPad Mini will be significantly cheaper than the current iPad.

Other iPad Mini price rumours include:

Update: A Digitimes source predicts it could land with a very reasonable sub £200 ($249-$299) price tag.

Update: Could the iPad Mini be a super cheap tablet contender? It can according to one source, who claims it will land with a price tag between $200 and $250 (around £150) - we certainly hope this turns out to be true!

Update: Those famous "various analysts" and "industry sources" havespoken out again, confirming that the iPad Mini should arrive on the market for $249-$299 (around £159-£190).

Update: A report from Japanese blog Macotakara said that the iPad Mini price will cost in the region of $250-$350 (around £160-£230).

iPad Mini display


In February we saw a report from the Wall Street Journal claiming a source from an Apple component supplier had confirmed it was testing a smaller screen for Apple, in the region of 8 inches, with a similar resolution to the iPad 2.


As the name suggests, we're looking at an iPad that will be sporting a screen smaller than the stock 9.7-inch display found on the first three Apple tablets.

At the start of March, Digitimes reported that the new iPad Mini would actually come with a 7.85-inch display – a tad bigger than the 7-inch screen found on the Amazon Kindle Fire andGoogle Nexus 7.

In July, sources "with knowledge of the project" said that the iPad Mini will indeed sport a 7.85-inch display.

Update:Apparently Apple is using displays from AU Optronics Corp. and LG Display Co. for its highly anticipated mini tablet - expected to measure 7.85 inches diagonally.

Other iPad Mini display rumours include:

Update: April saw Sterne Agee analyst Shaw Wu reveal that Apple had been testing devices with screens ranging from 4 to 12-inches and highlighted that the 7.85-inch format would be most likely "when, not if" the iPad mini is launched. Wu also predicted the iPad nano would sport the same resolution as the original iPad and iPad 2, at 1,024 x 768 – meaning developers wouldn't have to tweak their apps.

Update: According to an iMore source, the mini iPad will sport a 7-inch screen with the same retina display as the iPhone 4S and new iPad.

Update: The 7.85-inch screen rumour gets ever stronger as industry sources claim the iPad Mini will sport IGZO display panels, which are capable of delivering a retina-quality display.

Update: According to Bloomberg's sources, the iPad Mini will not arrive packing the Retina Display featured on the new iPad 3.

Other iPad Mini specs


To help keep the cost of the iPad Mini down, one source reckons it will ship with just 8GB of internal storage - the same amount as theAmazon Kindle Fire and the smaller Google Nexus 7.

In terms of thickness, Japanese blog Macotakara cites an unknown source, claiming the iPad Mini will be 7.2mm thick.

Macotakara also wrote that the iPad Mini would come with 3G functionality.

Update: Some dodgy looking pictures have showed up online, claiming to show the back case of the iPad Mini - and you'll notice that there's no rear-facing camera at play.

Sadly there's little else to go on from these snaps, with the source failing to provide any more information - real or fake? The choice, as they say, is yours.

 

iPad Mini LEAK

 

Credit: Sina Weibo

Update: An image has leaked online claiming to show the rear case of the iPad Mini - although it's highly dubious as it doesn't seem to have the Apple finesse found on the rest of the product range.

 

iPad Mini case LEAK

 

Credit: digi.163.com

iPad Mini accessories


Even though there's been no official work from Apple on whether it's even building a mini iPad, it hasn't stopped third party manufacturers predicting the Cupertino firm's intentions and producing cases for the tiny tablet.

One case which appeared online in China showed an additional hole in the back of the cover, prompting questions on what Apple may be adding to the back of the iPad Mini – possibly a rear-facing microphone?

iPad Mini early verdict


Well, we're still unsure whether Apple will go down the iPad Mini route. Steve Jobs made his stance on smaller tablets quite clear, and it would be a daring move by the Cupertino firm to go against its popular former boss.

But the budget tablet market is one that is definitely growing, and one that Apple isn't currently part of, so it won't be too much of a surprise if the firm does decide to go down this route.

We'd love to see a new iPad Mini come to market, since it would certainly give Amazon and co a run for their money... plus it would be intriguing to see what Apple would do with the smaller format.

 

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August 28 2012 3 28 /08 /August /2012 03:04

 

Apple launched its latest version of the Mac OS X, the OS X Mountain Lion 10.8 last month and we now have an update bringing an array of minor updates.

 

The update is a general maintenance and bug release fix, with a hint of improvements here and there.

 

To update, simply hit the  Apple menu and select "Software Update..." and your Mac will take care of the rest.

As with all OS X software updates, you’ll need to restart your computer after installing.

 

The update is fairly small, ranges from just 8MB to 30MB, depending on the type of Mac you have.

 

Here’s the official list of changes and improvements with the OS X Mountain Lion 10.8.1 update:

  • Resolve an issue that may cause Migration Assistant to unexpectedly quit
  • Improve compatibility when connecting to a Microsoft Exchange server in Mail
  • Address an issue playing audio through a Thunderbolt display
  • Resolve an issue that could prevent iMessages from being sent
  • Address an issue that could cause the system to become unresponsive when using Pinyin input
  • Resolve an issue when connecting to SMB servers with long names
  • Address a issue that may prevent Safari from launching when using a Proxy Automatic Configuration (PAC) file
  • Improve 802.1X authentication with Active Directory credentials

Unfortunately this update does not seem to plug the battery life drain problem that some users have experienced since installing Mountain Lion.

 

OS X 10.8.2 testing is reportedly already underway and the update supposedly focuses on the following areas: Messages, Facebook integration, Game Center, Safari, and Reminders. Apple has always brought much appreciated updates to their operating system and it would be interesting to see how many improvements we’ll be seeing in the near future!

 

Article Source: http://www.digitalcupcake.net/2012/08/23/os-x-mountain-lion-10-8-1-update/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=os-x-mountain-lion-10-8-1-update

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August 24 2012 6 24 /08 /August /2012 08:47

Feel boring when you are free? Want to play games on your iPhone when travelling by Car, Bus, Train, Plane or Ship? Here is a list of popular 10 free games for your iPhone and provide you hours of fun:

 

1. Drop ship
This excellent ngmoco title accustomed to cost you a couple of quid, but Drop ship has become free and is among the Application Store?ˉs greatest deals. The overall game is really a modern undertake Gravitar or Thrust, together with your ship fighting gravity and shooting gun emplacements during your search complex vector-based cave formations for stranded allies.  The ‘touch anywhere’ dual-thumb controls take getting accustomed to, but the overall game feels fluid and exciting once they’re mastered.

 

2. Sol Free Solitaire
Although it’s basically a slice of Solebon Solitaire (£1.19), Sol Free Solitaire is nevertheless a sensational illustration of a stand alone solitaire game.  As soon as you initially launch the overall game, the amount of polish and a focus to detail is apparent. In most from the six incorporated games, the graphics are neat and obvious, the controls are intuitive and responsive, and also the built-in assistance is informative.

 

3. Cube Runner
The accelerometers in Apple handhelds have driven growth and development of myriad tilt-based racing games, but tilt controls could be finicky. Cube Runner, however, feels perfect while you pilot your craft right and left through cube-littered landscapes, striving to outlive as lengthy as you possibly can.  The overall game doesn?ˉt seem like much, however it plays well, and durability is extended by Cube Runner helping you to create and download new levels.

 

4. Dactyl
Almost entirely missing thorough, Dactyl is nevertheless probably the most furiously addictive games around the Application Store. A gloriously demented Whack-A-Mole-style effort, Dactyl basically tasks you with tapping red-colored tanks to prevent them overflowing. Quickly, though, red-colored tanks arrive thick and fast, forcing you to definitely keep a record and tap them so as, to prevent the inevitable ‘game over’.

 

5. Bankshot
One for pool sharks, Bankshot tasks you with delivering your orb to some goal by bouncing them back with a minimum of one wall. A couple of different modes are available within this attractive neon-style game, however the best is Blitz, a higher-octane time-attack affair.

 

6. 10-Pin Shuffle Bowling Lite
An inquisitive mixture of ten-pin bowling, shuffleboard and poker, 10 Pin Shuffle proves remarkably addictive. You receive two cards for every strike and something for every spare, and whomever has got the best hands in the finish from the tenth frame wins.

 

7. Cell Splat
Which means you think you’re observant? Cell Splat will test claiming towards the limit. The overall game distills ‘match’ games for their purest form. You receive a target shape or colour, and, from the clock, must tap all matching products within the well. Quite why this frantic, great-searching, fun, addictive game is free of charge, we don’t know we simply suggest you download it immediately.

 

8. Volkswagen Think Blue Challenge
Most racing games are about tearing round corners at high-speed, your only concern being not to smash into things. Think Blue turns the genre on its mind, supplying you with limited fuel. The overall game turns into a unique and intriguing survival-based challenge while you attempt to eke out an additional couple of metres each go.

 

9. Alice in the Secret Castle
If extremely difficult old-school games are the factor, Alice within the Secret Castle appeals. The overall game boasts 64 rooms of NES-style hell, having a curious game auto technician that hides walls whenever you contain the ‘A’ button. Progression therefore turns into a situation of learning taxing and relentless (but rewarding) puzzle-oriented platforming.

 

10. Minimalist Shooter
Tilt to reside required the dual-stick format developed by Robotron: 2084 and subverted it, getting rid of your weapon and getting you depend on colliding with contact-based explosives to eliminate lethal enemies. Minimalist Shooter is across the same lines, but it’s free and resembles a pyrotechnic abstract art display.

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August 23 2012 5 23 /08 /August /2012 03:33

Mobile gaming is kind of a big deal. Most games available for tablets aren’t as long as the best titles for handheld consoles, but some are just as deep in both story and mechanics. As for selection, well, there’s just no way Nintendo or Sony can compete with the iOS and Android app stores.

Even some hardcore gamers are now turning to tablets as an alternative to handheld consoles. Which begs the question – if you care about gaming, what tablet is the best? Is there a major difference between the competitors, or are they all about the same?

The Three Best Choices

Now that I’ve provided an overview, let’s get down to the specifics – the three best gaming tablets on the market today.

Apple iPad 3 aka The New iPad

The iOS environment is a great boon to the tablet gamer. Game usually come out for iOS first, and Android later. Games also tend to run better on the iPad because the developers only have to code for a few devices with extremely similar hardware.

With that said, don’t discount the hardware. The display on the iPad 3 is amazing. It’s crisp, offers excellent color reproduction and features deep black levels. This is enhanced by the A5X, which features the most powerful GPU on any tablet sold today.

Sony Tablet S

Like some other Sony devices, the Tablet S is Playstation Certified. This means it will be able to run Playstation Mobile games, giving gamers another source of high-quality titles. You’ll be able to play games like WipEout and DYAD, among many others. You can even play them by pairing the tablet with a wireless PS3 controller.

The tablet also features a “TruBlack” display. It provides excellent black levels, which results in good image quality.

The main downside is the use of the older Tegra 2 SoC. This hampers performance in theory, though the tablet should be able to handle modern Android titles.

Google Nexus 7

It’s hard to beat the value presented by the Nexus 7. For $200 you can have a tablet with the same Tegra 3 SoC found in other larger, more expensive tablets. It provides the same performance at a much lower price.

Another benefit is the display. Color reproduction and black levels are not the best, but it does offer a 216 pixels per inch, which not far off what Apple offers with its Retina display.

Some gamers may be turned off by the size. A 7” tablet is quite a bit smaller than a 10” one. This can also be a boon, however, because the tablet is lighter and easier to handle. That makes the tablet easier to use for long periods of time.

Conclusion

Here’s the summary checklist for buying a gaming tablet.

  • Check the performance of the SoC.
  • Consider display quality.
  • Research game selection and peripheral compatibility.
  • Look at size and weight (lighter, thinner tablets are often more comfortable).

If you remember these four points before you make your purchase you should be happy with the product. Don’t worry much about interface customizations, camera quality or even audio quality (you can always wear earplugs, and probably will if you game outside your home).

Article Source: http://www.makeuseof.com/tag/which-tablet-is-best-for-gaming/

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August 20 2012 2 20 /08 /August /2012 11:21

Back-to-school shopping season is launching. Maybe you have done somethings for your child like physical and eye exam. Here share you a cool idea to hunt for some useful applications to your child. Here I will introduce to the best 6 apps specially designed for your child.

 

1. MyHomework
Available for: iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, Google Android products

A bit less intense than the last entry, MyHomework lets students organize and keep track of classes and assignments. The app color-codes items according to their due date and syncs to a desktop to keep all of a student’s information centralized. Its a great tool for college kids who like the structure of an online system but put a few hundred miles between them and their parents for a reason.

 

 

2. QuickOffice Pro
Available for: iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, Google Android products

If you’re looking for a document editor, no other app beats QuickOffice. It’s a great alternative for editing Microsoft Office documents while on the go in all programs including Word, Excel and PowerPoint. This app can even access files from your Dropbox folders easily and put them right back in there after you finish editing them. This is a premium app that currently costs $14.99 for iPhone and $19.99 for iPad. There’s also a version for Android at $14.99.

 

 

3. Dictionary.com
Available for: iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, Google Android products

You kids today and your iWingWangs have no idea what it was like way back when. If you wanted to look up meanings for words, synonyms and antonyms for said words and famous quotations using said words, it usually required three books with the combined size of a countertop microwave. Sure, there were paperback versions, but did you ever see how bent, chewed and torn up your average paperback dictionary gets after a year of use? The Dictionary.com app puts all of those pages and pounds of functions into a much smaller, more portable package. Sure, there’s always going to be some pedant who one-ups you with a multi-volume Oxford English Dictionary or Bartlett’s Familiar Quotations, but their wallet and back are paying a big price for minimal reward.

 

 

4. CourseSmart
Available for: iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, Google Android products

Even if students get your textbooks free through the school system or get used textbooks at a deep discount, they’re still lugging them around on their backs all year. That’s a weighty proposition, and an unnecessary one at that. CourseStart puts a semester’s or year’s worth of books on a user’s laptop, tablet and/or smartphone for 12 months at roughly half as much as print versions. Granted, you can’t sell these versions back, but the already deep discount offsets that loss in most cases.

 

5. Grades 2
Available for: iPhone & iPod Touch.

Setting a grade target is often necessary to move forward, and the Grades 2 lets students do just that. This is an app that helps students figure out whether or not their on the right track toward achieving an A, or any other minimum target grade. All you have to do is plug in the information for your past and upcoming assignments so that the app can do the rest of the work. It’s available for free for the iPhone.

 

 

6. Evernote
Available for: iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, Google Android products, Blackberry, Microsoft, Windows Phone 7

Having trouble looking for that one little fact you scrawled out two months ago during an 8 a.m. class just after the first big campus party of the year? Can’t read it even after you find it? Evernote feels your pain and lets you type and synchronize notes, to-do-lists photos and voice memos from your iPhone to the Web. Everything’s searchable, which means you can look for text within images (including words on whiteboards), find notes or files from any of your synced devices and share them easily with friends via email, Facebook(FB_) and Twitter.

 

 

More tips for entertainment fans:

Try the   iPad Video Converter which enables you to enjoy almost any source movies on the move.

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August 15 2012 4 15 /08 /August /2012 14:30

If you purchased a new Mac recently then you might be pleasantly surprised to hear that you’re entitled to a free upgrade of Apple’s latest version of OS X, 10.8 Mountain Lion. Customers who purchased directly from Apple or from an authorised reseller on or after June 11, 2012 are eligible – and who doesn’t love a free upgrade?

The process isn’t particularly complicated, though as of writing this, Apple have not notified all eligible customers so today we’ll take a look at how you can claim the upgrade for free. The upgrade isn’t Mac-specific so even if you didn’t purchase an updated Air or Retina MacBook Pro you can still claim for your iMac or Mac Mini.

Why Should I Bother?

Mountain Lion is the next iteration of OS X, following on from version 10.7. There are a number of new features (over 200, according to Apple) and while many of them will be hidden from sight, there are a few noticeable reasons to upgrade. If you’re an iPhone or iPad owner then it will be hard not to draw comparisons between iOS and 10.8, and you’ll undoubtedly benefit the most from the update.

Notes, Reminders and a new app called Messages are only a few of the new arrivals, with the latter including multi-protocol instant messaging support (Google Talk, AIM and more join the party) as well as the integration of Apple’s own messaging service, iMessage.

Similarly, a new security feature called Gatekeeper will by default only allow software from the Mac App Store to be installed, though this can be easily modified or completely turned off via the Security & Privacy settings under System Preferences. AirPlay mirroring is another juicy feature that will allow you to send whatever is on your Mac’s screen to an AirPlay receiver like the Apple TV.


Finally the upgrade is free, and while it only costs $20 anyway – the cheapest an Apple OS upgrade has ever been – you’ve probably spent enough on your new PC as it is. Just don’t forget to backup any data you can’t live without before updating. Despite the fact that the upgrade should be quick and painless, it’s still possible something might go wrong somewhere.

The Up To Date Program

First visit the Mountain Lion Up To Date Program and input your purchase date, place of purchase, country and locale information as well as the name of the reseller (if applicable) you purchased from. Seeing as you’re probably a home user you can ignore the Right To Copy field entirely. Click Continue to advance the form to the next stage.


Next you will be asked to fill out your name, address and provide an email ID for verification purposes. This is the email that Apple will use to send you your code, and in order to keep it simple I personally used the same email I use for my Apple ID. This probably doesn’t make a huge difference, though I did receive my code in less than 24 hours. Fill out all the information on this screen and then click Continue again.


In order to claim your upgrade you will need to submit your Mac’s serial number to Apple for verification. This number is unique to your machine and you should keep it private, except under circumstances such as these (or support requests). You can find this information by clicking the Apple logo in the top left corner of the screen, then clicking About This Mac.


Click More Info to display a list of information, including your machine’s serial number which you can select and copy (Cmd+C). You can then paste this into the box on the next screen, with the option of adding more serial numbers for multiple machines if necessary. Again, clickContinue to advance the form.


Finally you may be asked to include your proof of purchase as a scanned document in this final stage. If you don’t have a scanner I’d recommend something like TurboScan for iPhone or an equivalent scanner app for your Android or Windows Phone device. Upload, clickContinue and sit back and wait.


Receiving Your Code

You should receive your code by email, and as I’ve mentioned, mine arrived in less than a day. Apple will actually send two emails – one titled “OS X Mountain Lion Up-to-Date Content Code Email” with an attached password-protected PDF document, and another titled “OS X Mountain Lion Up-to-Date Password Email” with the password required to open the PDF containing the activation code.


Once you have got your code, open the Mac App Store and on the right-hand side under theQuick Links heading should be an option called Redeem which you must click.


Paste your code into the provided box and click Redeem – your download should now begin and Apple’s OS X update wizard should guide you through the rest of the process. Remember to make sure you have a recent backup before restarting to complete the installation!

Have you tried Mountain Lion? Did you get a free upgrade? Did it all go smoothly? Let us know in the comments, below.

Article Source:  http://www.makeuseof.com/tag/bought-mac-claim-free-upgrade-os-mountain-lion/

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August 13 2012 2 13 /08 /August /2012 05:57

The latest desktop operating system from Apple called Mountain Lion just became available. It claims to include over 200 new features and most users agree, it's worth the $20 upgrade fee. Meanwhile a free beta version of Microsoft's Windows 8 has been available for some time and will become official on October 26th. As computing moves more toward mobile devices and both operating systems demonstrating a trend that reflect a "post-pc" era we couldn't help making some comparisons between the two contenders for your desktop (and mobile devices).
Some May Love It, Some May Hate It
Both Windows 8 and Mountain Lion represent a merging of desktop operating systems and mobile operating systems. The tile-based Metro UI in Windows 8 and the iOS-like apps in Mountain Lion point to the general "appification" of both operating systems.

In Mountain Lion, Messages work with their iOS counterpart allowing you to send text, photos and video messages. Even files up to 100 MB can be "dropped" into messages. Reminders with Calendar integration can all be synched in Apple's "iCloud." Notes in Mountain Lion like their iOS counterparts can also be synched in the cloud. A new notification interface also shares a look and feel of iOS notifications.

Windows 8 uses tiles that look the same on a desktop or tablet as they will on a Windows 8 phone. The tiles can display active information like the current weather or stock prices. Some users find that using tiles for notifications is a more appealing technique than the new Apple notification "center."

Some users may find the merging of the desktop and mobile operating systems undesirable and long for the good old days of desktop computing while others will find the commonality of the user experience refreshing.

The Battle for the Living Room
Mountain Lion gets a new version of AirPlay which includes the ability to "mirror" what is displayed on your device's screen, like a movie or an application, onto a big screen TV, using an Apple TV. Apple's Game Center is an attempt to make up for lost ground in the gaming department where Microsoft with Xbox and a popular PC gaming platform has a big lead. Apple's Game Center on Mountain Lion will allow users of Apple devices to play against each other through an Apple TV. Meanwhile Microsoft is hoping that game developers will find it easy and beneficial to port Win 8 games and apps across a similar set of devices that includes laptops, desktops, tablets, and phones.


Apple may launch a major offensive in the battle for the living room with a rumored Apple TV and we mean a "real" big screen HDTV set with the Apple touch. So far some say it makes sense and Apple will announce it while others dismiss it as "never going to happen." What do you think?

Who Will Have the Best Ecosystem?
Both Mountain Lion and Windows 8 use a single sign-in to get you running on iCloud and Windows Live where you can then synch your docs, photos, contacts, calendars, music and more across all your devices. Apple's ecosystem can also save you money on phone bill with use if iMessage and FaceTime. Meanwhile Microsoft owns Skype which we're sure will figure prominently in the Microsoft ecosystem.
The Future User Interface Will Be Gestures
Windows 8 and more and more Mac OS X are really meant for gesture input which in the future, will deliver best experience on a touchscreen or touchpad. Mountain Lion has added more multi-touch gestures while both operating systems move toward multi-touch gesture-based input. Is the one or two button mouse as we know it heading for extinction?

It's also just a matter of time before desktop computer monitors will be touchscreens while "hybrid" computers that combine touchscreens on laptops should continue to grow in popularity as users feel more comfortable swiping, tapping and pinching their way around the operating system.
Malware and Security
As the installed base of Apple products continues to grow, the malware developers may find the Apple platform a more attractive target. Some aspects of the Apple operating systems like the Unix core and Apple's tighter control on apps may help make it more difficult to breach the Apple defense. But not long ago 600,000 OS X users were reportedly affected by the Flashback Trojan that Apple was a bit slow to respond to. In Mountain Lion, Apple added a new security system called Gatekeeper that uses a Developer ID to help make sure software that you install is not malware. Meanwhile Microsoft, to the chagrin of the third party anti-virus companies, has incorporated into Windows 8, Windows Defender which includes the same protection currently in Microsoft Security Essentials. But that doesn't mean you still shouldn't consider the comprehensive protection applications from companies like McAfee and Symantec. Microsoft continues to beef up their defense against evil-doers with new features like Trusted Boot which can prevent a malicious program from starting before Windows does and should help prevent rootkit malware from working.
 

Whoever Has the Most Apps May WinWith over 600,000 iPhone apps 100,000 iPad apps and a growing library of Mac apps not to mention all the built-in creativity apps like iMovie, Apple has a lot to offer in the way of software and, as we always say, software sells hardware. Microsoft used to dominate the application war with a massive library of freeware, shareware and business application not to mention the mother of all apps; Microsoft Office. Time will tell if Microsoft can convince developers to continue to support the Microsoft platform. Steve Balmer knew this was important way back in 2006 and it's now more important than ever.
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August 9 2012 5 09 /08 /August /2012 03:09

If someone gave me the choice of picking just one media player to take to a deserted island, I would most definitely plonk for VideoLan’s VLC Media Player. I really don’t know whether I would get too much of a chance to watch anything while I am marooned there, but when it comes to versatility, no other player comes close. Thank God! VLC Media Player is free. It is Open Source and cross-platform too.

That VLC pretty much plays everything that you throw at it is old news. It is also a media genie when it comes to other things apart from playing movies. 

In the latter post, we talked about what VLC can do…

  • Rip & Transcode Videos
  • Internet Radio & Podcast Management
  • Video Effects
  • Snapshots
  • Play Video as ASCII Output

But there are still some ‘top secret’ features left to talk about. So, let’s spill the beans.

Use VLC as an Online Video Downloader for YouTube

Using a combination of VLC and your browser, you can download videos from YouTube and a few other video sites. Copy the URL of the video you want to download. For instance, in YouTube it could be like this:

1. Click on Media – Open Network stream. Paste the URL and click the Play button in the player.


2. VLC Media Player starts streaming the video.  Now, click Tools – Codec Information and at the bottom of the window you will see a Location box. Copy the long URL in the box and paste it on your browser’s address bar. The browser will now start playing the video file. You can download the video file to your desktop by doing a Save As…. Or you can choose to record the video.


I tried this out with YouTube. Let us know in the comments about other services too.

Don’t ForgetVLC Can Play Audio Too!

We normally associate VLC with video, but VLC is a complete media player and that includes full music-playing features with playlist support. VLC not only displays cover art, but also has a pretty good graphic equalizer tucked away inside it.

You can bring it up with a CTRL+E. Pitch your song just right with the available presets, or finetune it with the 11 frequency bands.


The latest VLC also gives you Dynamic Range Compression that subdues loud sounds or amplifies quiet sounds by compressing an audio signal’s dynamic range. That’s just the thing if you are living in an apartment with thin walls.

Then there’s Audio Normalization


Just in case you don’t jump out of your skin, VLC has the normalization feature tucked deep inside Audio preferences (Tools – Preferences – Audio). It’s a feature to keep in mind when you are playing audio and video files; a sudden increase in the volume could jar your ears. In case of video, you have to restart the video for it to take effect.

Record Directly From Webcam

You can record your video chat session easily using VLC.

1. Go to Media – Open Capture Device.

2. On the Capture Device screen, you can select the video device and also the audio device like the system microphone.


3. You can also configure the options from the Configure settings. Finetune your capture withBrightness, Contrast, Hue, Saturation (and other) controls.

4. Head down and drop down the Play button to open the Convert dialog where you can select the Destination file, click on the Browse button to select video file location, name and format.

Scrobble Tracks to Last.fm

Last.fm added support to VLC and that helps because you can enhance your recommendations by scrobbling from your desktop music collection to Last.fm using the VideoLan media player. Scrobbling tracks to Last.fm with what you listen to on your desktop is a simple three-step process –

1. From Tools – Preferences click the Show Settings radio button to All.

2. Drop down to Interfaces. Expand the branch to Control Interfaces – check Submission of played song to Last.fm.


3. Expand Control Interfaces and click on Audioscrobbler. Enter your login details on this screen, hit save and restart  VLC.

Mouse Gesture Interactions with VLC


Productivity mavens like their mouse gestures, and VLC media player obliges with basic mouse gesture support. To activate this feature, go to View – Add Interface – Mouse Gestures. You may need to restart VLC for the changes to take effect. The list of supported gestures and settings options can be on this page of the VideoLAN wiki.

Automatically Quit VLC When Playback Is Over (And Shut down The Computer)

Queue your songs in a playlist (Kenny G’s saxophone perhaps), switch off the lights, and drift off to sleep. Oh wait! Did you forget to switch off the VLC player and shut down the computer? Stay in bed because a little line of code can do it for you.

You can quit VLC media player after playback is finished, by adding

vlc://quit

to the playlist. Alternatively, from Media select Quit at the end of playlist.

Shutting down the computer is a bit more elaborate with a batch file.

Create a new file with extension .BAT [use notepad] and paste in the contents from below:

START /WAIT C:\"Program Files"\VideoLAN\VLC\vlc.exe %1 vlc://quit
shutdown -s -t 60

Drag your saved playlist icon on top of the .bat file. The batch file will launch VLC and load the playlist. It will wait for the playlist to finish playing and then the batch file shut down the PC in 60 sec.’s.

I end here with seven useful features of the ever-popular VLC media player. There are lots more of course. If you know about these seven features then they aren’t ‘top secret’ at all, but if you didn’t then try them out. Which feature of the VLC media player deserves to get mentioned? Do you know of a VLC feature that you think not many are aware of? Reveal it in the comments. We are all ears for secrets to be spilled.

Article Source: http://www.makeuseof.com/tag/7-top-secret-features-free-vlc-media-player-si/

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August 8 2012 4 08 /08 /August /2012 05:27

The first beta of VLC Player for Android has been released for devices sporting an ARMv7 CPU with NEON Support. The VLC Beta Player is supposed for “power” users letting them fully customize the player.

 

The VLC player has already been a cross-platform application that can play nearly any multimedia format. The program is not only restricted to supporting local audio and video playback but also supports high-quality online sources.

 

VLC Player for Google android supports swipe gestures so that you can manage volume simply by swiping up and down the screen, multi-track audio, subtitles, altering aspect ratio, filtering music as per the users desire, album art, plus a very helpful home screen widget to assist users control playback.

 

Much like its desktop counterpart, VLC Beta Player for Android also characteristics the same old features that experienced users have become to love. The application remains to render Hi-def media up to 1080p and it’s also an opensource project for users who are planning on modifying the application.

 

Because VLC is capable of playing a range of video clips, users don’t have to care about installing extra software, especially the codecs.

 

On the app’s main interface, you will notice that it is separated into two, the video and the audio parts. Once you launch the program, it will scan your device for all of the local media content available and will place those files under the relevant tabs. Users can also manually search media content or locate a specific network stream that can be accessed with the bar on top.

 

Choosing the menu button allows you to toggle between directory and media view. There’s also the settings page on which you could find different options, like hardware acceleration, headset detection, search history, and other important audio and video tweaks.

 

In the Video tab, you are able to long-press a file to show details about media such as video resolution, frame rate, video codecs, and file size. Long-pressing an album enables you to play all the tracks it has.

 

On the disadvantage, VLC Beta Player for Android still needs a lot of catching up to do. Although the app does work well in playing most file types, it does however lack its effectiveness in playing high-quality 1080p videos(you can use AVCHD Converter for Mac to solve this problem). Additionally, some users also have complained about how the app uses so much battery power for just a short while.

 

Considering the app is still in its beta stage, these setbacks are just normal and could be weeded out when the final version hits the market. Overall, VLC Beta for Android could be the media player that we all have been waiting for.

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August 1 2012 4 01 /08 /August /2012 08:53

According to related news from multiple sources, Apple’s “the world’s most advanced desktop operating system” OS X Mountain Lion had been downloaded more than 3 million times in four days following its official launch on July 2hh, 2012 in comparison with 1 million downloads of OS X Lion in the first day of its launch, but didn’t hit 6 million downloads until over two months after release.

 

  “Just a year after the incredibly successful introduction of Lion, customers have downloaded Mountain Lion over three million times in just four days, making it our most successful release ever,” Apple SVP of Worldwide Marketing Philip Schiller said in a press release Monday.

 

Then, what’s the main features of OS X Mountain Lion, what makes it different from its previous versions?

There are over 200 new features have been added to OS X Mountain Lion, such as iCloud, Notes, Facebook, Dictation, Messages, Notification Center, Safari, AirPlay Mirroring, Reminder, Sharing, Power Nap and Game Center etc, thus delivering a amazing Mac experience.

 

Key Features of OS X Mountain:

Messaages: Send messages from your Mac to friends with an iPhone, iPad or Mac

 

iCloud: Documents in the iCloud lets you create and edit your documents on your Mac, iPhone or iPad

 

Safari: Type both searches and web addresses in the new Smart Search Field

 

Notification Center: New notifications appear in the top right corner of your screen

 

Sharing: Share links, photos, videos and other files straight from the app you’re in

 

Game Center: Play live multiplayer and turn-based games against friends on iPhone, iPod touch or Mac

 

Dictation: Lets you talk anywhere you can type – no setup or training required

 

AirPlay Mirroring: Shows your Mac screen on your HD TV with Apple TV

 

Power Nap: Keeps your Mac up to date while it sleeps so it’s instantly ready to go

 

Gatekeeper: Makes it safer to download apps from the Internet by giving you control over which apps can be installed on your Mac.

 

Play video on OS X Mountain Lion

Just as its previous version, OS X Mountain Lion can still deal with some popular formats which are commonly used on the previous versions like MOV, MP4 etc. Therefore, MOV and MP4 playback, management and editing are still available with OS X Mountain Lion.

 

However, you can’t import some camcorder videos like Sony, Canon, Panasonic, JVC camcorder record videos in AVCHD, MTS, M2TS, MXF, MOD, TOD format to OS X Mountain Lion directly. Then, you will need a OS X Mountain Lion Video Converter to convert AVCHD, MTS, MXF, MOD, TOD camcorder video to OS X Mountain Lion.

 

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