June 27, 2009

Seen and Heard: Search Engines

There's more to search than Google, and it's extremely apparent that they won't get picked up by the mainstream anytime soon. Still, it's good to know a few more sites you can try searching in when Googling just can't do the job.

Microsoft's Bing
Completely separate from MSN or Windows Live, Microsoft's new Bing basically is their latest competitor to Google.
Every day, Bing changes its picture and introduces some small facts on it- like Easter eggs. The home page looks very simple (taking a page from Google, perhaps?) but it's also more "warm" and "welcoming".
One of the more special features of Bing include a little sidebar that gives an overview of the page as well as keywords included within. On the left sidebar (not shown), related search terms are displayed.
Image search results are also displayed in a fashion where the image info is only displayed when you hover your cursor over the image. There are filters on the left side that let you narrow your search down to "size", "layout", "color", "style" and even the "people" contained within.

But if you're looking for something a bit more academic- basically a sort of calculator thingy- then there's something else for you called;

Wolfram Alpha
This search engine is not exactly a search engine but more of a "computational knowledge engine". It's home page is full of information that will help you clarify its purpose, as well as let you jumpstart the search process. It does not, however, search for images or videos like the other search engines.
What it does search is objective answers to questions like "the anagram of 'wolves'" or "Arccos 769 degreees" and more. It's more educational than anything, so if you want to satiate your need for say, Michael Jackson news, this is not the engine to go to.
With an extremely minimalist home page, Cuil is also a comprehensive search engine that, while not new, also has a few stuff up its sleeve.
When you search for something, you are presented with a simple results screen with a tabs that will help you narrow down your search. The tabs are basically search suggestions and filters. You can also narrow it further by exploring through categories that are related to it.
As you can see (if you enlarge it, especially) the scroll bars don't seem to be placed right and that's because the buttons that will lead you to the next result page will remain at the bottom- unaffected by scrolling, which is personally a nice touch.

June 25, 2009

iPod 3.0 software (1st gen vs. 2nd gen)

While it's all good for the iPhone bunch with their free upgrades, there's a bit of a predicament when you start talking about ponying up $9.99 for the same upgrade on the iPod touch. Like anything that's not free, much consideration will have to be made before making the jump. Is the 10 dollar 3.0 firmware for the iPod touch worth it?

1st generation iPod touch
I got my first generation iPod touch through a "points redeem" program so technically, it's sort of free. I actually wanted to hold off for the 2nd gen but my father was persistent and got me that for my birthday. It's still one of my best buds ever, and while upgrading to 3.0 gave a bit of new life to it, it's ultimately not worth paying 10 dollars for.

The only major features that first generation iPod touch users will benefit from are:
1) Push notification support (multi-tasking-ish) and App Store account settings.

2) Configurable Spotlight search...
3) Search everywhere.

4) More complete artist information on lock screen mini-player

5) Specific scrubbing

6) Safari Autofill

7) Cut, Copy and Paste

So yeah, the updates you'll get to notice are simply too subtle, so I think it's either upgrade to the next iPod touch that's probably gonna oversee release in September or October, or ignore it (and the apps along with it). 2.0 was a great upgrade since it granted access to apps, but this one? Maybe not... unless you didn't upgrade to 2.0, that is.

2nd generation iPod touch
The second generation benefits much more than the first generation iPod touch due to the fact that it has Bluetooth. Yeah, that's actually a bit of a distinctive line because what the 3.0 firmware does to it is that it "unlocks" the Bluetooth option so you can listen to music- with (stereo) Bluetooth headsets! Not only that, it also lets the iPod touch go head to head with an iPhone or similar generation iPod touch in several games that utilize the Peer to Peer thing (that or you can download apps that let you share files over Bluetooth as well).

In addition, if you buy any headphones that have a mic, you can also use the gorgeous Voice Recorder that comes with the firmware. Of course, you also get the aforementioned other features, but isn't the upgrade so much more enticing with the new Bluetooth features?

If you're not into Bluetooth headsets, don't upgrade, but if you are, this is a no-brainer.

June 22, 2009

How good does the iPhone 3G S's camera hold up?

One of the big deals that come with the announcement of the new iPhone 3G S is the long-awaited camera upgrade. True, it doesn't do 5 megapixels, but megapixels don't always do a photo justice; you could have a 2 megapixel camera and still shoot something that looks really good. It's all in the lens, people, but with that said, does the new iPhone do much better than last time?

Advertised quality. (daytime)

Real-world quality (afternoon)

Whatever the case, the photos still sure look pretty damn good. Obviously, there are phones with much better cameras out there- most likely the Cybershot phones- but the fact that the iPhone also does a decent job of automatically applying appropriate controls like white balance and macro with one touch in a certain spot you want to focus in (that is, if the reviews are to be believed), that's a bonus too.
Auto-focus applied on the box.

The bigger deal is the addition of video recording to the iPhone. After two years of seeing an iPhone without video recording, it was worrying- to say the least- that other phones would follow suit (and some really did). Fortunately, Apple also makes up for the absence with not only a video editor, but also the same one-touch autofocus. True, the phone only records in VGA quality- the bare minimum- but surprisingly, the videos look quite tolerable- even if they are only on YouTube.

The audio is kind of not so hot, quite frankly. (raw file)

Tested on a wider color gamut. (raw file)

Video shot and directly sent to YouTube. (compressed over 3G)

June 16, 2009

Opera Unite - probably gonna be used in piracy circles

You've probably never heard of a humble browser called Opera, yet for so long it has continued to evolve so much but noticed so little. It's no surprise then, that not all of the major news sites have taken any notice to the browser's new major addition called Opera Unite.
From the looks of it, Opera is proposing a mini-web server that you own so you can share files privately and cut the middlemen out of the process. It's probably so that things will likely be a bit more secure because it's "your" server and nobody else's. This will probably allow for more direct and more secure file transfers, communication, etc..

I myself am not even sure what it's supposed to actually do. But from what I've seen, I think it's like a social networking startup- you get a basic webpage, you can add some apps and even share files. It's proposed that you'll have "complete control" over all the data you upload on your own server so if you distribute illegal stuff over the service, it's probably gonna have to be you that's gonna be sent a cease and desist letter since, well, Opera probably doesn't control it.

More innocent uses, however, include collaboration with other people with Word files and the like, note-posting that your friends will be able to see (or the other way around) or just music sampling with friends through uploading music in your server so that they can listen to the actual song (aka, so your friends can insult your bad taste) but in a more private fashion. You can also share files with other people even if they use other browsers (including mobile ones) but you'll have to send them a special password for it to work.

I don't think it's gonna shape anything for now, but I don't know. Opera needs to provide more information as to how it actually works-- and in plain language.

iPhone App of the Week: Lady Gaga Revenge

Despite the major upgrades Tapulous has made to its free flagship Tap Tap Revenge 2 (now just Tap Tap Revenge + Themes!), I've decided to consider that the recently released Lady Gaga Revenge (or if you prefer, Tap Tap Revenge: Lady Gaga Edition) is a bit more fun to review, because it requires less screenshots it's pretty good in its own right.

Tapulous has offered premium content and artist-centric Tap Tap games in the past, but I think, technically, Lady Gaga Revenge is one of the best of the premium games.
Before anyone flames me, I have to say that I'm not saying Lady Gaga Revenge has the best playlist (in my opinion, that title belongs to Coldplay) but there are some pretty catchy tunes in there, and the selection of songs Tapulous has made for the game are pretty spot-on.

To once again clarify, I said that this app was technically the best because I think the interface Tapulous made for the game is much less "flashy" yet creative at the same time (the Coldplay one was too "flat" and Tap Tap Dance is too shiny at times).
True, the placement of Lady Gaga herself can be a bit distracting, but the flashes are just subtler as they are merely on the lower left and right portions of the screen, and the multiplier count is even presented in cards, ala Poker Face.

In addition to that, Lady Gaga Revenge is also the first Tap Tap to utilize the iPhone in a landscape orientation. But instead of just 3 places to tap, it's now four.
It's much more basic, and it's darker so it's a bit of a relief to the eyes since the motif is kind of subtler. Thankfully, activating Revenge mode is automatic during these stages, and the arrows disappear as well.

Like all the other premium Tap Tap games, you'll have to achieve a bare minimum of 85% completion in half of the songs of a specific difficulty. Notably, the Kids difficulty has been omitted.
And like all the other Tap Tap's, you'll be able to challenge a friend to beat your score through E-mail, buy the specific song through iTunes, post your own score to the worldwide leaderboard (or just your Facebook wall), or just visit Lady Gaga's website.
One other thing that has been derived from the free counterpart is the "news feed", but this is more catered to the Lady Gaga fans. Basically, it will alert you if Lady Gaga's been chosen as Rolling Stone's cover girl or whatnot.
Overall, this game is very much catered to both casual and hardcore Lady Gaga fans. The usual complaints like undefined charting (and sometimes downright bad charting), the inability to play online and download new songs persist, but in a technical aspect, it's probably the best premium Tap Tap app out there, but that doesn't say much to dethrone the actual Tap Tap Revenge from still being the best, especially since it's free. If you hate Lady Gaga though, there's obviously no reason for you to even be reading this review since you won't get it anyway.

I'm just thankful that Tapulous has gotten rid of the crashes!

Rating: 8/10 [App Store Link]

June 14, 2009

Apple's advertising disproved... sorta.

As announced recently, Apple has released the new rebranded, bumped up and priced down MacBook Pro's. The main thing about the MacBook Pro's aside from the SD card slot is the presence of the non-user-removable battery. While some will just hate the design choice, others will welcome it due to the fact that it purportedly delivers 2-3 hours more than the normal laptop battery with the same specs.
But is the "enhanced battery life" just a bunch of baloney? Apple news site MacRumors reports that hardware analysis site Anandtech has put the battery to the test to prove (or disprove) Apple's claims... at least in the "wireless productivity" front.
After surfing the web under Wi-Fi using the new 15-inch MacBook Pro, AnandTech has sort of disproved Apple's claims- in a good way.
They actually got to churn out 8.14 hours instead of the advertised 7 out of the 15-inch MacBook Pro, which is pretty amazing. 7 hours out of a laptop is already pretty darn good, but 8?

Obviously, this depends on user activity, which is usually varied. Thing is that most users will probably appreciate the battery life when browsing under Wi-Fi, because that's probably what most people would do with a Wi-Fi capable laptop.

Anandtech explains that the laptop uses a battery that utilizes the extra space the notebook is capable of giving. Basically, instead of using the usual cylindrical batteries that come with the usual notebook, Apple has made the batteries flat rectangles so that they are bigger (and thus provide more battery life) without sacrificing the portability. The catch, again, is that they are not user-removable. But for 8 hours and 1000 charge cycles? I'd take that.

June 13, 2009

Movies Opening This Week: What's Wrong With Canada? Edition

In TV and the movies, a lot of people are not exactly fond of being deported. I can understand if their country has the image of a hellhole, but is Canada really worth leaving when it seems to have such a pretty nice and clean reputation? And how about that free health care?

The Proposal
Obviously, a rom-com will be the last place you'd expect anybody to discuss the weird irrationality of the wrongness of Canada... or Alaska for that matter.

Set in a premise that probably any Canadian immigrant would relate to (yes, there might've been a hint of sarcasm), The Proposal stars the Sandra Bullock as the witch boss Margaret and Ryan Reynolds as Margaret's employee Andrew. Margaret apparently is a Canadian, and she has to be deported for some reason. Her solution? Marry the next guy who opens the door, who by the way in real life is pretty much Canadian. What an ironic turn of fact and fiction.

Predictable, this will be. Charming? Well, Betty White is.

Why don't we go back to simpler times? Why do people have to care about immigration and nationality and citizenship anyway? Why can't we go back to...

Year One
OK, maybe that's going a bit too far. But if Jack Black and Michael Cera were our ancestors... uhh... we'd probably all get along and be funny all the time. Maybe some will even go as far as becoming a funny criminal mastermind. That's why we have the Joker right?

Lame joking aside, Year One is actually kinda funny. It's basically about two people who go on a "road trip" through different periods of time. They meet some rather familiar characters and go through some rather familiar key situations in history that kinda shaped humanity forever. Basically, this is Jack Black's take on history. And I don't know how far they'll actually go with this, but I don't think there's any remote sign of aging.

I have to admit, the trailer made a laugh a bit, but I'm not sure if it exactly warrants a trip to the theater. Still, with the king of awkward Michael Cera and the king of loud Jack Black together, the pairing may likely cause much hilarity. You know what, I'm gonna wait for the reviews because I kinda like what I see in the trailer.

Punch-Out!! Review (Wii)

Nintendo Wii
Nintendo, Next Level Games

In today's gaming world, it's all about online multiplayer, first-person shooters, and photorealistic sports simulators. So it's quite astonishing to even see a game like Punch-Out!! be so much the same as its NES counterpart yet so freshly fun at the same time.

What sets Punch-Out!! apart from games like Fight Night or God forbid, Facebreaker is that it's still the same pattern-based, reflex-dependent game that baby boomers reminisce so much about. Despite the nostalgic value the game holds, it also holds up well with the jaded audiences of today. The sheer accessibility and challenge makes this game a perfect example of a reboot done well. Not only does it have a sort of "pick-up-and-play" control scheme (or schemes), it doesn't feel dumbed down either, making this game a great way to unite casual and hardcore gamers.

But how do you even play this? You can use either just the Wiimote and orient it to landscape to make it play like the old NES version, use the Wiimote and Nunchuk so you can punch using your hands (but dodge using the Nunchuk's analog stick), or use the Wiimote, Nunchuk and the Balance Board- although I've heard that Balance Board support sucked. As for the actual controls, they're very much simple: when your opponent flashes red, that means he's about to attack you. Dodge the right direction (up, right, down or left) and you get the chance to pummel the opponent down with a combo. Simple, right? Well, how about we also add a "super-punch" mechanic into the mix? Punch your opponent in the right time and you get a star. A star allows you to activate the super-punch by holding the A button and punching. Still simple, yes?

It does all sound too simple, but just wait until you actually play it. True, the first opponent you encounter (Glass Joe) is easy as croissant, but succeeding opponents aren't so forgiving. To give you a hint on how hard this game can get, I have an embarrasing 14-31 record. For those who aren't into sports, that's 14 wins and 31 losses. Yes, 31 freaking losses. That's how hard the game can get. Even with all the visual and aural cues, you'll still find yourself sweating and swearing in frustration due to dodging in the wrong direction, among other human faults.

That said, the game is still tons of fun. Even if you win after, say, 12 attempts at the same opponent, you'll still feel this sense of joy-- it feels rewarding to win. That feeling can probably be attributed to the human psyche's dream of being able to conquer people who are bigger than him (WTF am I saying?!) because the presentation of the game has you feeling so small and the enemy so big.
The cel-shaded aesthetic, however, is very much welcome. Even though aiming for photorealism is the norm for sports games, the decision to use cel-shading very much benefits the game as it adds to the charm of the already charming characters. True, the characters can get a bit too stereotypical- croissants will fly over Parisian Glass Joe's head, for instance- but the "happy" overall feel of the game will probably make you dismiss it as something done out of sheer fun.

The single-player mode (Career mode) pits you against 13 different boxers with several distinct fighting styles. Obviously, your approach will be different with each one. There seems to even be a new character in the Punch-Out!! roster called Disco Kid. If homoerotic moans get you creeped (crept?) out, I suggest you to not take them seriously.

Each fight starts with a 4 picture slideshow of your adversary. That basic slideshow gives you an impression of each fighter's backstory. But trust me on this when I say Punch-Out!! has never been about story, so don't expect much from these slideshows.
But the career mode doesn't exactly end after you beat the 13th boxer, you'll be able to go through all of them again to defend your title, but they come in with more moves and sometimes protective gear that will force you to change your strategy again. It's very varied, which I like, and it very much pushes replay value.
Even Glass Joe's fragile head gets protection.

Adding even more to replay value is the local multiplayer aspect of the game- a first in the franchise. It operates on nearly the same principles as the career mode, but it offers a twist: punch your enemy enough and you'll become as big as all those other guys you fought-- in short, Giga Mac. The player who gets left behind as Little Mac will be able to see all those red flashes that the boxers in Career mode will emit when they get ready to throw a punch, and the same mechanics with all the combos and stuff in the Career mode apply as well. This makes for a varied and extremely fun twist on the formula- and it also makes for very fun 2-player split-screen sessions.

While there is no online, nor any photorealistic graphics, Punch-Out!! for the Wii is still very much a lot of fun- and it is very much worth a buy even when you don't have any nostalgic feelings toward it.

Rating: 8.5/10

June 12, 2009

Convention is the downfall of man...

...so get Scribblenauts!
I'm sorry if I had to go out on a limb and blurt out some pretentious title for the sake of the post, but it's exactly what Scribblenauts pretty much aims to do.

What is Scribblenauts though? It's a pretty darn cool Nintendo DS game that lets you solve puzzles in any way you want by typing in virtually any common noun (and even some proper nouns but it's limited) with the on-screen keyboard and positioning it on whatever is blocking your way to the finish line.

It scores you based on how creative you are with your puzzle solving skills. For example, the game wants you to cross the river. What's the first thing you'd do? Summon a bridge, right? Well, what about we fly on a bird and kill the bird with an atomic bomb when we cross the river? That'll probably garner more points... or destroy the entire level. The possibilities (and not to mention the fun) probably won't even end there.

You can even summon God and test His power against the elements, and I mean creatures like a Stegosaurus, Dracula, or even the Kraken. No really, I'm not even making this crap up. I wouldn't even dare try.
But just knowing that it's actually possible to stage fights that you can only dream of, is pretty sick.

Despite it being nearly unheard of in several gaming circles (the kiddy aesthetic doesn't help either), I think it's actually one of the best games on show this E3. I'm looking forward to actually trying it out. It's ambitious, it's been proven to work with a crapload of nouns (expect, well, pee-pee and vajayjay), and it just looks awesome. Stay tuned for it September, DS owners.

Could iPhone 2010 save your life?

If you own a cellphone that's at least 4 years old, then you might now about an option that lets you dial even when your phone is locked. Basically, that is the "emergency numbers" option. Sony Ericsson phone owners like myself are stuck with just 911 and 411, but it seems that Apple is trying to go the extra mile and stretch the concept beyond just dialing. And yes, the iPhone can do emergency calls as well. It has been this way since the first iPhone.
In an Apple patent filing, the pictures depict the iPhone with interface elements showing that there'll have to be extra steps before an emergency call can be disconnected. It is described that the user can even set a few options as to how many extra steps one has to face before actually being able to disconnect. Hell, it could even be that you can't actually end the call yourself at all and the other line will have to do the hanging up.

It sounds cumbersome, but how about we describe an emergency scenario, huh? Let's say there's a kidnapper and he's holding someone hostage. Since you're on some other side in the house where he can't see you, you dial 911 (or whatever emergency number that you define. Yes, you can define your own emergency numbers, thank God. Makes it much more practical for other parts of the world) but he catches you dialing the number and he grabs your phone and tells you to keep quiet. Since you set the option of the phone not being able to hang up the emergency phone, however, the kidnapper won't be able to stop the call and give the police enough time to give your coordinates.

Hell, in fact, the patent shows that the phone itself can send out the coordinates automatically when you send an emergency call even if you don't tell them yourself.

Why don't we approach this one with a different scenario then? You get an asthma attack, you are alone, and you whip out your phone to dial 911 because you are in fact, not at home and thus, without medication. Well, since you can't speak, you can't really say stuff about your condition. The patent describes that the emergency call will have the option to let you describe your condition through "emergency phrase buttons". What they do is that they let you choose an apt description of the situation by having a list of said situations and the computerized voice will say it.
That's actually pretty darn smart. Another "phrase button" that is being considered is an automated request that tells the 911 receiver to contact a family member or friend.

Additionally, if your iPhone is low on power, the emergency mode may also automatically make the iPhone shut down unnecessary stuff like Bluetooth (although if you're using it by way of Bluetooth headsets to make the call, I assume it won't shut down), Wi-Fi or the camera.

Will people automatically expect this feature to be in the next iteration of the iPhone in 2010? Perhaps, but patents don't usually come into fruition. Then again, Apple patented multi-touch too, but that was after they released the iPhone though. It would actually be pretty nice to have it in the next iPhone, hell, why not a firmware update in 3.0 itself?

June 9, 2009

A Mac for $29. Seriously.

Obviously, I'm not talking about 29 dollar Apple branded hardware, but I'm talking about Apple branded software. Unbelievably so, Apple has set its next major OS release Snow Leopard, a month earlier than Windows 7. Not only that, Leopard users will be able to upgrade to Snow Leopard for just $29, but a family pack is also available for just a video game ($50).
For Mac users, this WWDC also means a long-awaited official public demo of the much-awaited streamlining of the Leopard OS. For Apple, Snow Leopard is the introduction of new technologies and minor features for Mac OS X.
Basically, Snow Leopard is actually more for hardware optimization- basically, Apple's converting much of the system programs of Mac OS X to 64-bit so there will be limitless utilization of RAM as well as a new open standard for graphics called OpenCL. Apple also promises 45% faster installation times which is a relief, and even 6GB freed space compared to the current Leopard.

However, tangible changes like QuickTime X which sports a new interface as well as the extermination of QuickTime Pro (probably), better Stacks, Chinese handwriting on the trackpad and Dock Expose (which I love), will probably impress buyers.

On the business side of things, Microsoft Exchange is now built into Snow Leopard and the seamless integration it has with the Mac is very good.

Expect Snow Leopard to be bought by a lot of people since, well, it's basically 30 dollars less than a video game and hell, 40 dollars less than Apple's own consumer iLife (and iWork) software!

iPhone App Demoes

A new tradition Apple has taken upon things that have to do with the iPhone is to demo a slew of cool iPhone apps.

The first company to demo was Gameloft with Asphalt 5. It has 47 licensed cars, and a few bicycles thrown in for good measure. Yes, it's basically a racing game that lets you listen to your iPod library- a first- as you drive and the graphics are actually kinda pretty.
It also has the features that will become standard on probably all iPhone games: local multiplayer through Bluetooth, worldwide online competitive modes, and DLC that nickel and dimes the player. I'm sure we'll see something abusive from Capcom some time in the future.

And here's a cool, more practical app: Airstrip Technologies' Critical Care. Unfortunately, I have yet to actually see a video for it. But when you see it in action, it's actually pretty cool.
Next is the Iceberg Reader which features quite a few books, magazines, textbooks and newspapers that you can buy.
Again, there's still no video of it, but I will update this post when a video comes.

What America considers to be the most major app demo is the Tom Tom GPS app, which also comes complete with a companion car kit. It seems pretty sweet indeed since you won't have to buy an extra GPS unit, but the thing is, Philippine maps probably don't exist there. Fail.

It was actually rejected in the App Store at first, but now it seems Apple and Tom Tom are getting buddy-buddy. Apple actually has a leg up Microsoft with this since Microsoft recently charged Tom Tom for patent infringement or something like that. Actually, even cooler is that the car kit will also charge the iPhone.

Then Neil Young from ngmoco demoed a game called Star Defense. It's an RTS that's actually available right now, but the expansions that are not free have yet to be in that version. iPhone 3.0 firmware users will get that.

45-year old company Pasco also wants to make science fun for kids through the iPhone app Spark. I'm not sure how fun it is, but at least it helps you do science experiments, like say, measuring the air pressure and how it lowers and increases when inflating and bursting a balloon. Unfortunately, I can't even find a video nor a picture, but I'm gonna update this when I do.

But here's a cool one: Zipcar. It basically lets you find all the Zipcar branches and reserve a rental of a car. You can even unlock or use the horn of your car if you can't find it. We don't even have a Zipcar in the Philippines so it's useless here (and will not probably even see the light of day in the Philippine App Store).

Here's another gem: amps for your guitar. And I mean a real guitar. Line 6 who makes amps collaborated with music iPhone app devs Planet Devs to make a pretty damn cool app. You can connect the amp to your iPhone, and the guitar will definitely sound like the amp you select.
It's so sad that there isn't any video right now.

Obviously, I'll have to do a lot of updating here. -sigh-

iTunes for iPhone: Now with Movies

It's probably the whole iTunes Store in your palm now that Apple has announced that Movies, TV Shows, Audiobooks and iTunes U are all available for download in the iPhone iTunes Store. You can also rent or purchase movies directly through your device, which is pretty cool if you live in the US.

Find a stolen iPhone... for $99 a year?

Apple today introduced a new and admittedly very cool feature called Find My iPhone. But the catch here is that you'll have to have a paid MobileMe account to be able to use it. And that service is not cheap at 99 dollars a year.

But this really cool feature could be irresistible and just plain invaluable for some, so this feature might be the one that could draw in all those iPhone owners to crowd the servers once again.

Anyway, Find My iPhone in MobileMe enables you to find your iPhone through its GPS receivers, whether you just misplaced it or left it at the diner. It will beep a lot when you send a message to it, so that you or other people will be able to notice- regardless of whether it was in silent mode or not. If it's stolen, you can also wipe it remotely, and the deletion of all data will be instantaneous.

If you do get to find your iPhone after instantaneously wiping it out, you can still retrieve all data through backup anyway, so it's a big win of a feature.

It's just so unfortunate that the Philippines doesn't have any decent GPS maps, really. I would actually subscribe to Me.com in a heartbeat if I got an iPhone. If ever I get it, that is.

Is Globe ready to support the new iPhone?

AT&T has announced that it will not support the iPhone's MMS and Tethering features for a while, so it might worry some of the folks here in the Philippines. Will Globe do the same thing and screw over Globe users who want to have the iPhone 3GS in July or the iPhone 3G owners who will download the 3.0 firmware next week?

The answer is no.

Fortunately enough, Globe has raised support of immediately supporting all iPhone 3G and iPhone 3GS along with more than 20 carriers around the world, so no worries about the network screwing up. 7.2 MBps HSDPA will also be supported.

Safari 4 gets final

Maybe you just downloaded the Safari 4 Beta and liked it. If you did, then you'll probably like downloading the final version of the standards-compliant browsers.
It's medium-scale size-wise at 45MB, but there is actually a huge new addition to the browser. Not only does it feature a more stable overall feel, it also features the much awaited "sandboxing".

First introduced in Google Chrome, tab sandboxing basically involves different tabs acting like different entities. If one tab fails, the others don't. Plug-ins also have the same feature: if the plug-in crashes, the other windows aren't affected, and you can just restore it, seemingly by clicking on it. At least, that's how I understood the keynote.

Additionally, the final version doesn't have the Chrome-style "tabs on top" layout anymore, and it seems to be returning to the old style ala Safari 3 or Internet Explorer 7.

People have complained about Safari being a resource hog, however, so if you have an old computer, you may have to turn off Cover Flow or just boycott it altogether.

MacBook Air lowers altitude by 700 dollars

While still kinda expensive, Apple lowered the prices and upgraded the specs of both the high-end and low-end models of the ultra-thin MacBook Air.
The base model is a hundred dollars less ($1499) and the higher-end model has dropped its price by a whopping 700 dollars. It effectively makes the higher-end model worth $1799. Basically, the 300 dollars extra is probably worth it if you're into this laptop.

No more aluminum MacBook.

The first thing Phil Shiller told the audience was that not only were they gonna put SD card slots on nearly every MacBook they have (but no iMac?), but they were gonna rebrand the 13-inch MacBook and claim that it is a MacBook Pro.
This would've split the sides of Apple fans and force them to choose a stance on this. But the thing is, the 13-inch MacBook Pro is basically the 15-incher by way of it actually having a FireWire 800 port and an SD card slot. Nothing else new is really added to the 13-incher, but apparently, those additions including the default backlit keyboard, constitute a MacBook Pro, therefore, what was then the MacBook is now the 13-inch MacBook Pro.

It's only the 17-incher that's actually not gonna get an SD card slot, and it's pretty ironic. Still, audio professionals probably would still want the ExpressCard slot, so Apple was most probably torn. Additionally, all of the MacBook Pro's support 8GB of RAM now.

Moreover, the prices have been dropped like crazy. Basically, the price of entry for the new 13-inch MacBook Pro has become even cheaper than what would've been the price of a 13-inch MacBook yesterday. If you bought a MacBook yesterday, you're screwed. Feel the pain as they are all available today.

An even bigger pain in the ass is that all of the MacBook Pro's have the "enhanced battery", therefore they cannot be manually removed by the user. Isn't that banned in Europe now or something?
What of the MacBook, then? Well, it seems that the old white MacBook returns to the primary line-up, therefore it will also receive the more regular upgrades to processor, RAM, etc..

Entry price for a 13-inch MacBook Pro (wow, I gotta get used to that) is $1199, a hundred dollars cheaper than the then 13-inch Aluminum MacBook. 15-inch MacBook Pro is also 300 dollars cheaper at $1699 and the 17-inch is still the same $2299. The plastic MacBook is still $999.
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