Friday, September 30, 2011

OmmWriter brings its clean, calm writing interface to Windows

ommwriter
I have a thing for full-screen text editing. I use WriteMonkey for my creative writing needs, and VIM in a full-screen PuTTY session for my Web development work. That being the case, I'm all over the monospace, dark-background, focused editing scene.

OmmWriter attempts to take that aesthetic and make it somehow more spiritual, with three picturesque backgrounds and ambient background audio tracks (there are seven of each in the paid version).

I'm of two minds about this app. On the one hand, yes, it's beautiful. But if you want music as a background to your writing, why not pick your own soundtrack with Winamp or Foobar2000 running in the background?

OmmWriter also offers three keyboard-clicking sounds, which are kind of nice. None of these features are groundbreaking, really. OmmWriter could be seen as a way to gently ease into the world of distraction-free writing -- in case something like WriteMonkey's dark background is just too oppressive for you.

After the fold you can see a video showcasing several of OmmWriter's features and creative soundscapes.

Continue reading OmmWriter brings its clean, calm writing interface to Windows

OmmWriter brings its clean, calm writing interface to Windows originally appeared on Download Squad on Fri, 01 Apr 2011 13:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Source: http://downloadsquad.switched.com/2011/04/01/ommwriter-brings-its-clean-calm-writing-interface-to-windows/

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CrunchGear Week in Review: Animal Shots Edition

Here are some stories from the past week on CrunchGear: ?Rotary Mechanical? Cell Phone Concept Isn?t Practical, But It Looks Great Lomo?s New La Sardina Camera Is Cheap And Sardine-Can-Like Panda Itazura Bank: Super-Cute Piggy Bank (Video) Meet The Robostir, A Robotic Soup Stirrer SugarSync Adds Mobile Device Management To Send Files To Devices From [...]

Source: http://www.crunchgear.com/2011/06/20/week-in-review-animal-shots/

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Google Chrome now uses SPDY HTTP replacement, halves page load time

SPDY in Google Chrome
We're not entirely sure of the time line here, but it looks like Google has now rolled out the SPDY HTTP replacement to its full bevy of Web services, including Gmail, Docs, and YouTube. If you're currently using Google's Chrome browser you're probably already using SPDY.

We originally reported on SPDY way back in November 2009, when Google introduced it as yet another experiment in making the Web faster, like Go, Native Client and speculative pre-connections. Over the last 18 months, though, SPDY support has found its way into the stable build of Chrome.

SPDY is basically a streamlined and more efficient version of HTTP. At its most basic, SPDY introduces parallel, multiplexed streams over a single TCP connection -- but at the same time, SPDY allows for prioritization, so that vital content (HTML) can be sent before periphery content (JavaScript, video). All in all, the SPDY protocol can halve page load times, which is obviously rather significant.

The best bit, though, is that SPDY is an open-source project. HTTP 1.1 is a lumbering beast that needs to be replaced before low-latency real-time computing really becomes a reality, and SPDY is one of the best options currently on the table. To be honest, we're not sure why SPDY hasn't received more coverage -- it's awesome in every way. At the moment, though, the only way to help speed up SPDY's proliferation, is with an experimental Apache mod.

As far as actually 'trying it out,' your best bet is downloading Chrome, hitting up some Google sites, and then checking chrome://net-internals to see your active SPDY sessions. SPDY is a transparent replacement for HTTP, though, and as such it's rather hard to see its effects. Google's sites definitely feel fast in Chrome, but there are more technologies than just SPDY at work.

Google Chrome now uses SPDY HTTP replacement, halves page load time originally appeared on Download Squad on Mon, 11 Apr 2011 07:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Source: http://downloadsquad.switched.com/2011/04/11/google-chrome-now-uses-spdy-http-replacement-halves-page-load-t/

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Rumor: Amazon Is In Talks to Buy webOS [Amazon]

We already know that HP wants to sell webOS to someone else. VentureBeat is reporting that Amazon is "the closest to finalizing a deal" for webOS. Oh my god, that would make our dreams come true. More »


Source: http://feeds.gawker.com/~r/gizmodo/full/~3/XCkzPGXL7pQ/rumor-amazon-is-in-talks-to-buy-webos

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Libra for Android helps you track your weight using The Hacker's Diet system

Libra for Android helps you track your weight using The Hacker's Diet system
libra
I'm getting fat; that's what you see on the screenshot to the right -- my gradual move from chubby to portly. But never mind the numbers, look at the pretty graph!

If you've ever read The Hacker's Diet, this graph should be instantly recognizable. Each point shows the weight for a given day, while the trend line lets you see if you're gaining or losing weight.

When I use my "main" PC, I have a homebrew solution for creating and maintaining this graph. But I've had to find a temporary solution for Android, and Libra is it.

It's a beautifully simple app, very true to the spirit of The Hacker's Diet. You can create a shortcut on your homescreen that brings you right into the data entry screen, so you just tap the shortcut every morning, feed in your weight for the day and hit OK, and then you get to see your progress (or lack thereof) on the graph.

The app remembers the previous day's weigh-in, which makes it easy to enter today's weight (as they're usually not too different). The graph is zoomable and scrollable, and most importantly, you can export the data to CSV so you're not locked into the app.

If you ever need to track your weight using an Android device for any period of time, Libra is one excellent solution.

Libra for Android helps you track your weight using The Hacker's Diet system originally appeared on Download Squad on Thu, 31 Mar 2011 12:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Opera 11.10 includes improved power saving features

Opera 11.10 includes improved power saving features
opera 11.10 battery power
Just recently, the Opera 11.10 release candidate was made available for download. It brought a handful of important feature additions -- like HTML5 File API support and IMAP enhancements -- and loads of bugfixes. Nestled in amongst the other details in the Opera team's announcement is one more interesting tidbit: Opera 11.10 offers improved battery optimizations.

The timing here is certainly interesting, what with Microsoft's recent report on how much power the top five Web browsers consume. In its findings, Opera 11 was fairly low in the standings. While we've not seen any new benchmarks yet, we're curious to know whether the Opera 11.10 RC offers any significant gains.

If you're running Opera 11.10 on a laptop, let us know if you're seeing an improvement in your battery life while browsing!

Opera 11.10 includes improved power saving features originally appeared on Download Squad on Thu, 07 Apr 2011 09:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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In-app payment support arrives on Android

Right on cue, Google has launched in-app payment support for Android applications. Developer testing began last week, and now many popular apps -- like the ones pictured above -- can begin charging users for add-on functionality, content, or whatever the heck else they feel is worthy of additional bits of your pocket change. If you were wondering, Google will take the same 30% cut that Apple takes from in-app purchases.

At last we can buy individual issues in Comics with minimal fuss!

In-app payment support arrives on Android originally appeared on Download Squad on Wed, 30 Mar 2011 10:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Source: http://downloadsquad.switched.com/2011/03/30/in-app-payment-support-arrives-on-android/

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Nokia passes off Symbian and 2,300 employees to Accenture


After placing all bets on Windows Phone, Stephen Elop announced that Nokia would slowly phase out its OG operating system, Symbian. Today, it's officially passed the torch, handing over all Symbian-related duties to Accenture, a consulting and outsourcing firm. 2,300 former Nokia employees will also be repurposed, getting a new name on their paycheck as they tend to the ill-fated OS. The Finnish mainstay says the arrangement will last until at least 2016, and plans to continually roll out updates during this time. Not everyone is hanging on another five years though, as it seems that at least 500 employees have jumped ship or found new gigs within the company since the original announcement predicting 2,800 reassignments. Head past the break to find the full (and very terse) press release.

Continue reading Nokia passes off Symbian and 2,300 employees to Accenture

Nokia passes off Symbian and 2,300 employees to Accenture originally appeared on Engadget on Fri, 30 Sep 2011 11:41:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Source: http://feeds.engadget.com/~r/weblogsinc/engadget/~3/zDiBcYM4HIM/

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Asus Eee PC 1025 treads a Cedar Trail through the FCC

Attracted by all that Cedar Trail gossip about 10-hour battery life and weeks of standby time? Then you'll be pleased to see that Asus's Eee PC 1025C and higher-end 1025CE models have received their nods from the FCC. Both pack the latest 32nm Atom processor under their 10.1-inch hoods, along with an HDMI-out, Kensington lock and flush trackpad. The CE additionally serves up a USB 3.0 port, 4x zoom on its webcam and a metallic finish. NetbookNews got some hands-on time with these babies at Computex and reported prices of $249 and $279 for the C and CE respectively -- whet your appetite at the More Coverage link.

Asus Eee PC 1025 treads a Cedar Trail through the FCC originally appeared on Engadget on Fri, 30 Sep 2011 15:09:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Source: http://www.engadget.com/2011/09/30/asus-eee-pc-1025-treads-a-cedar-trail-through-the-fcc/

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Gillmor Gang Live 1pm PT (TCTV)

Gillmore Gang test patternThe Gillmor Gang - Robert Scoble, John Taschek, Kevin Marks, Danny Sullivan and Steve Gillmor ? are recording live at 1pm PST. Recording over at 2:25PM PST.

Source: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/Techcrunch/~3/eGyQ6JppNLY/

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Tasty Planet is a fun flash game where you eat everything in sight

Tasty Planet is a fun flash game where you eat everything in sight
tastyplanet
So this professor comes up with a new toilet cleaner that works by "eating" the dirt; or so he thinks. That's how the plot starts for Tasty Planet. You play the role of the toilet cleaner, but you're not really a toilet cleaner after all -- you're a blob of gray goo that can eat anything that's smaller than yourself.

As you chomp away, you grow -- and as you grow, you can eat bigger and bigger stuff. The first level pits you against microscopic particles; by the time I stopped playing, I got all the way to eating cats and dogs. I know that sounds disturbing, but it's a really cute game, and there's no gore or anything like that.

Supposedly you keep growing and growing until you're able to eat whole planets (hence the name). The challenge factor comes when you realize you can't touch any critter larger than yourself - you'll get "bitten" and become smaller. In the beginning you're so small, that a single touch can kill you. Later on, you're big enough that touching larger animals doesn't kill you on the spot, but it does reduce your size. Each level is timed, so if you're not large enough by the time your clock runs out, you need to start again. As long as you don't touch the larger animals, you should be fine.

All in all, a fun, addictive little game. It's available for iOS, too.

Tasty Planet is a fun flash game where you eat everything in sight originally appeared on Download Squad on Tue, 08 Mar 2011 17:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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In-app payment support arrives on Android

In-app payment support arrives on Android
Right on cue, Google has launched in-app payment support for Android applications. Developer testing began last week, and now many popular apps -- like the ones pictured above -- can begin charging users for add-on functionality, content, or whatever the heck else they feel is worthy of additional bits of your pocket change. If you were wondering, Google will take the same 30% cut that Apple takes from in-app purchases.

At last we can buy individual issues in Comics with minimal fuss!

In-app payment support arrives on Android originally appeared on Download Squad on Wed, 30 Mar 2011 10:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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AVG launches LiveKive cloud sync and backup tool

avg livekive dropbox
A while back, we told you about AVG's new LiveKive service, a new cloud synchronization and backup tool which appears to have been named after a vat in which mash is made during the brewing process. But enough about AVG's odd choice of monikers -- LiveKive has launched and is now ready to accept your files into the AVG cloud.

LiveKive takes aim at services like Dropbox and SugarSync, though at the moment it's lagging behind in terms of features. As it stands, LiveKive is only compatible with Windows and OS X. There are no mobile clients yet, though with AVG's strong presence on Android we wouldn't be surprised to see an app arrive in the near future.

The company is offering a heck of a deal right now, however. If you sign up for a paid account during the launch phase, you can score unlimited storage for $80 for a whole year. You can't even score 50GB per year at that price from Dropbox, so if cost and space are more important to you than cross-platform availability, LiveKive might be worth checking out.

If you're not interested in ponying up any cash at the moment, you can still get a 5GB account free of charge. Just head on over, and create a LiveKive account.

AVG launches LiveKive cloud sync and backup tool originally appeared on Download Squad on Thu, 07 Apr 2011 10:42:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Source: http://downloadsquad.switched.com/2011/04/07/avg-launches-livekive-cloud-sync-and-backup-tool/

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Survival Lab is a fun pixelated game where dying doesn't matter

Survival Lab
In most games, dying is a bad thing. You have to start all over again, or at least revert to the last save point and lose some progress. Not so in Survival Lab: in this pixelated gem you play as a lone individual pitted against ruthless weapons in a sealed chamber. You have to run, jump and duck, collecting little yellow things (I have no idea what they're called).

For each donut-like yellow thing you pick up, you gain a bit of experience. If you manage to collect several in a row without getting hit, this counts as a combo. You can see my mad combo skills in the screenshot, of course. Collecting combos is a good thing, because a ten-point combo gives you for more experience than just collecting ten dounts one by one (getting hit in-between).

Having experience is useful, because once you die, you get to a screen where you can upgrade your skills. You can learn to run faster, double-jump (and then double-jump higher), and duck. You can also gain more armour so that getting hit won't kill you so quickly.

What makes this simple game so addictive is that when you die, your experience doesn't reset. You just go back to the same level, or another level of your choosing, and keep accumulating more and more experience. Lots of fun, especially if you're into the whole retro-gaming thing.

Survival Lab is a fun pixelated game where dying doesn't matter originally appeared on Download Squad on Mon, 28 Feb 2011 16:20:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Source: http://downloadsquad.switched.com/2011/02/28/survival-lab-is-a-fun-pixelated-game-where-dying-doesnt-matter/

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LG seeks ban on South Korean BMW and Audi sales, sticks out its LED lit tongue at Osram

Wouldn't it be nice if we lived in a world where we all just got along, people worked for the thrill of it, and knowledge was free? Yeah, fat chance dreamers. 'Sue', our new millennium's most oft-used verb, is getting some heavy play at the hands of the tech industry. The latest court room combatants? Why, that'd be LG Group and Osram. You see, once upon a time LG was late to the LED patent game, and was content to fork over the cash to Osram for use of its tech. Skip to now, and the electronics giant's claiming it can get its lighting goods elsewhere, picking from a plethora of relevant IP-holding companies and combining that with its own patents. Despite having already countersued Osram in July to prevent the import of that company's allegedly infringing products into South Korea, LG's gathered its legal arsenal once again to block the sale of Audis and BMWs throughout the entire country -- cars that include Osram's LED tech. It's hard to imagine the courts would grant such a wide-sweeping ban on major auto players' bread-and-butter. And all grandstanding aside, it's more likely the two fisticuffing parties will come to some sort of revised financial agreement.

LG seeks ban on South Korean BMW and Audi sales, sticks out its LED lit tongue at Osram originally appeared on Engadget on Thu, 29 Sep 2011 22:08:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Source: http://feeds.engadget.com/~r/weblogsinc/engadget/~3/1I2ZHvO9nLI/

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Rumor: Facebook iPad App to Debut at Apple iPhone Event

We’ve been without an official iPad Facebook app for so long it has seemed as if it would never arrive. But rumor has it we won’t be waiting for it much longer.
There’s a chance Facebook’s iPad app and an HTML 5-based mobile platform (rumored to be codenamed “Project Spartan”) are ready to hit the prime [...]

Source: http://www.wired.com/gadgetlab/2011/09/rumor-facebook-ipad-app/

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GNOME 3 released, ushers in an interesting amalgam of iOS and OS X

GNOME 3 released, ushers in an interesting amalgam of iOS and OS X
GNOME 3 desktop manager
GNOME 3, after more than two years of development, has been released into the wild. GNOME 3 is not merely the logical successor of GNOME 2: it is an entirely new project, started from scratch, to create a "completely new, modern desktop designed for today's users and technologies."

The best way to check out GNOME 3's new features -- and it has lots of new features -- is to run a live version of openSUSE or Fedora, or simply head over to the GNOME 3 website and watch the (rather pretty) introductory videos. If you want a synopsis, though, here it is: GNOME 3 looks a lot like Mac OS X, with a healthy dollop of iOSesqueness for good measure, but yet it still somehow retains an underlying feel of Linux.

The overall aesthetic is very simple, very elegant, and despite being slightly out of fashion, there are plenty of rounded corners, too. The main addition, workflow-wise, is the addition of an app-launcher-cum-alt-tab screen, where you can launch apps, or flip through your open windows. For a complete list of the new features and changes, check the GNOME 3 release notes.

Despite GNOME 3 being officially launched, there aren't actually any releases for existing, stable Linux distros -- it's the live CD/USB images, or Ubuntu users will have to wait for the launch of 11.04 for a GNOME 3 PPA, but it will break Unity in the process. Fedora users will have to wait for for the May 24 release of Fedora 15. Of course, if you're feeling crazy, you can always build GNOME 3 from source.

GNOME 3 released, ushers in an interesting amalgam of iOS and OS X originally appeared on Download Squad on Thu, 07 Apr 2011 06:40:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Echofon Twitter client for Firefox redesigned and updated for Firefox 4

Echofon Twitter client for Firefox redesigned and updated for Firefox 4
With the recent release of Firefox 4, Echofon has just put out a major update of its Twitter extension for Firefox, featuring a new design and takes full advantage of Mozilla's latest browser. Echofon can now be used as a Firefox sidebar or pulled out into a separate window, and it now includes inline photo viewing and an all-around nicer UI for your tweet stream.

Some cool Echofon desktop features have made their way into the Firefox extension this time around, too. It supports muting of users, hashtags, and even specific Twitter clients, as well as saved searches (with a handy new tabbed interface). The very useful conversation view has also been added, allowing you to keep up with @reply chatter more easily.

Echofon for Firefox plans to support real-time tweet streaming through Twitter's user streams API, but that's still pending approval from Twitter. This update is still in Beta, so it might have some issues, but the Firefox extension is now giving standalone Echofon desktop apps a run for their money.

Echofon Twitter client for Firefox redesigned and updated for Firefox 4 originally appeared on Download Squad on Tue, 05 Apr 2011 13:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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AndyPad Pro review

Picture the scene: you're checking your emails on a shiny new device (worth two months pay) and from nowhere, a greasy-fingered infant is screaming at you to play. Reluctantly, you pass it over, watching your own hands cup the air beneath any potential drop zone, wondering how best to explain the jam-smeared calamity to your insurance company. Then you wonder if there isn't a useful, hard-wearing and cheap device you could let them play on without fear of bankruptcy. That's what prompted Norwich-based bedding magnate Andrew Kerry to conceive the AndyPad, an inexpensive, 7-inch Android tablet he could fling at kids. It wasn't long before jealous adults were demanding their own version, so a tooled-up edition of the device called the AndyPad Pro was born.

The tablet is currently UK-only and it retails for a lot less than the Samsung Galaxy Tab 7 (£280; $345 on Amazon) and Acer Iconia Tab A100 (£273 for the 8GB version; $328 on Amazon), and HTC Flyer (£330; $499 on Amazon). What's more, Verticool, an outfit founded by a man more famous for his Mattressman chain than any interest in technology, believes it can match the competition in a fair fight. Do the electronics giants have something to fear from the bargain-basement tablet or does it promise much and deliver little? Read on to find out.

Continue reading AndyPad Pro review

AndyPad Pro review originally appeared on Engadget on Fri, 30 Sep 2011 08:22:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Source: http://www.engadget.com/2011/09/30/andypad-pro-review/

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