Friday, February 11, 2011

Wow AT&T gives 1000 free bonus minutes to iPhone customers

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Considering switching from AT&T to Verizon for all your iPhone needs? AT&T would really prefer you don't. That's why they're giving 1000 free minutes to all their iPhone customers.

You may have already gotten a text message from AT&T telling you as such. If you didn't, simply text "yes" to 11113020 and you'll get em. Not that most of us need any more minutes; who talks on the phone these days? AT&T, if you really want to get in my good graces, a free gig of data would do the trick.



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Cellphones jump the shark

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In the TV business, a hit TV show is said to "jump the shark" when it can no longer sustain the qualities that made it a hit in the first place, and so resorts to some sort of weird stunt in what is usually a failed effort to maintain fading ratings.

This week, the cellphone business may have jumped the shark with two bizarre events.
Last week, Sprint unwrapped the Kyocera-made Echo, a cell phone designed somewhat like a trundle bed. Echo looks like a thicker version of a regular slab cell, but the top 3.5-inch screen top flips up and over and clicks alongside a second 3.5-inch screen pancaked underneath to create a single 4.7-inch square screen with an eighth-inch bezel seam in the middle. One program can be run across both screens as if it were a single display, or each screen can run a separate, independent program.

Then, today (Friday, February 11), and tomorrow, T-Mobile will give anyone who signs a two-year deal any phone in the store for free, including the carrier's $100 4G models. That's right — competition in the cellphone business has gotten to the point that T-Mobile has been prompted to actually give away its phones.

These are unlikely to be isolated retail or product "jump the shark" incidents. We're sure to see more cell strangeness as the World Mobile Congress convenes next week in Barcelona, a potential Shark Week sans the Discovery Channel cameras, which we'll explore after our own jump.

I can't remember a time of so much brouhaha in the mobile device business, and I've been doing this for 25-plus years.

For instance, suddenly everyone and their mother wants to be in the tablet PC business. We've got Android tabs from the known and unknown, Android 3.0 Honeycomb tabs from Motorola, HTC, Toshiba, Asus and others, we have HP's new webOS tab, Dell just unveiled a 10-inch Windows 7 tab, we'll soon, maybe, at some point, have the BlackBerry PlayBook tab — we even have a 2.8-inch tab from Archos (a 2.8-inch tablet?!).

Just how many tablet PCs do these folks think we'll need that don't have a single-but apple logo on the back, especially when just a year ago we were poo-pooing iPad as a stupid name and possibly a stupider idea that would become Steve Jobs' own shark jump?

And now there's a tablet shiver (a "shiver" is what you call a group of sharks, I just found out) all happening just when the blue whale of tablets, the iPad 2, is already in production and poised to displace all the water in the tablet aquarium.

(The results from the "iPad will Fail" link are actually pretty funny in 20/20 hindsight, as this piece might be if all or even some of coming tablets gain traction. Being ridiculously wrong is no biggie — I once loudly and longly proclaimed DVD would never succeed because we already had laserdiscs. Thankfully, that presumptuous prediction was posted on a now dead Web site and lost in cyberspace.)

This forthcoming tablet feeding frenzy is going to be entertaining, if nothing else.

Cellphone Shark Jumping

Honestly, it's been a week since Sprint unveiled the Echo, and I still can't decide if the dual screen idea is Einstein or Ernest. Keeping your brain straight between what's happening on each screen when running different apps on each was like trying to rub your head and pat your stomach (or vice versa) simultaneously. Conversely, the two-screen approach to email, messaging, and the Gallery and video apps was pretty compelling. Echo is compelling and cheezy at the same time.

Echo, I think, is merely the first whisper of cell shark jumping to come next week in Barcelona and in the coming months. For instance...

All four major carriers now have 4G handsets, and this summer AT&T will launch its own additional 4G LTE network, which will present its own shark-jumping opportunity: just how do you market two different 4G networks (HSPA-Plus and LTE) at the same time without resorting to leaping a hammerhead marketing?

Spanish Bullhead-Jumping

In Barcelona next week, LG is expected to announce its LG Optimus 3D glasses-free 3D phone, to which you'd naturally ask "Why do we need a cellphone with a 3D screen?" even if it takes 3D photos or played 3D games? (Hope that sarcasm doesn't come back to haunt me.) Is LG about to leap-frog a great white?

Sony Ericsson will finally let everyone get their hands on its PlayStation phone, an idea that's either too late or…no, it's just too late. SE is gathering itself skip over a thresher.

Along with its aforementioned webOS tablet, HP also launched two new webOS cellphones. Tell me again, why do we need yet another cellphone with a tiny screen running another OS? HP is poised to pole vault a pigeye.

But apparently we need even more phone operating systems. At Barcelona, we may see the first phones running the MeeGo OS, a Linux-based OS supported by Intel and Nokia. And speaking of Nokia, today it officially dumped Symbian and will shack-up California-style with Microsoft and Windows Phone 7, and may even move its offices from Finland to Silicon Valley. There'll plenty of shark-watching off the coast of Monterey and Big Sur — inland, that is.

Then there are rumors abut a Facebook-branded phone, which will do…what? Cue the colcloughs!

I have a feeling Steve Jobs (if he's back from medical leave) or his stand-in will be playing either Quint or Hooper, but probably Thomas Edison's birthday. Given how dominated our world is by technology, and given Edison's foundational role in nearly every device and technology we use, either directly, indirectly or even just by inspiration, I'd love to see some national or international recognition of his birthday to celebrate all the inventors, scientists and engineers who have brought us our modern technological society. In the meantime, happy birthday and thank-you, Mr. Edison.


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Steve Jobs is Still Calling the Shots From Home

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The WSJ is reporting that despite Steve Jobs' leave of absence he is still calling the shots from home.

The 55-year-old Mr. Jobs, whose ailment hasn't been disclosed, has been taking business meetings at home and on the phone, these people said.

He also has been seen on Apple's Cupertino, Calif., campus and in public in Palo Alto, Calif., with a company executive, said people familiar with the matter.

Jobs is reportedly working on the next iPad and a new iPhone that will be released this summer.

"Steve is the CEO of Apple and during his medical leave he'll continue to be involved in major strategic decisions," said an Apple spokeswoman. Messrs.




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Yelp for iPhone Gets Updated With Ability to Make Reservations

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Yelp has updated its iPhone app with the ability to make OpenTable reservations.

Looking for a burrito joint open now? An Irish pub nearby? A gas station you can drive to before your tank hits empty? Yelp for your iPhone is here to help. Use us to search for places to eat, shop, drink, relax and play then read reviews from an active community of locals in the know.

FEATURES:
● Search for businesses near you using the iPhone's built-in location finder
● Tap quick links to find nearby bars, restaurants, cafes and more
● Narrow your searches by 'hood, distance, price, and what's open now
● Browse reviews to read what's great (and not so great) in your city
● Add Quick Tips, photos, and draft reviews for your favorite businesses
● Look up addresses and phone numbers for thousands of businesses, then call or map them from your iPhone
● Yelp does augmented reality with Monocle. Overlay business information onto the world around you

What's New In This Version:
● Make Reservations!

Yep, now you can book OpenTable reservations all without leaving the friendly confines of the Yelp app. Lookup your favorite spot, tap the handy "Make Reservation" button and seconds later, you're set.

You can download Yelp from the App Store for free.
















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Apple is Working on Smaller iPhone That Will Cost $200 Without Contract?

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Apple may be working on a smaller, cheaper iPhone that will cost $200 without a contract, according to Bloomberg.

One version would be cheaper and smaller than the most recent iPhone, said a person who has seen a prototype and asked not to be identified because the plans haven’t been made public. Apple also is developing technology that makes it easier to use the iPhone on multiple wireless networks, two people said.

The lower price phone would let Apple capture more market share in its competition with Android.

The prototype is one-third smaller than the iPhone 4 according to an individual who saw it last year. While Apple has aimed to unveil the device near mid-year, the introduction may be delayed or scrapped, the person said. Few Apple employees know the details of the project, the person said.

About two years ago rumors circulated about an iPhone nano that would be released in June of 2009; however, the rumors never materialized.




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TimeNet Law 2.4 + Control Center

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AppleSource Software has released an update to TimeNet Law, their complete case management, time tracking, invoicing, billing and accounting solution for law firms and other organizations that want to run their business on stable, secure Mac OS X.

Feature Highlights:
* Built for Mac OS X (Universal Binary)
* Incredibly Easy to Learn Interface
* Fully Networkable
* Conflict of Interest Checking
* Advanced Reporting
* Accounting Functions that can practically run your entire Accounting Department
* Unlimited Timekeepers, Clients, Matters, & Payments
* Client- and Matter-Level Trust, Escrow and Retainer Accounts
* Document Everything with Unlimited Narrative Support
* Automatic Bookkeeper and One Click Billing
* Global Control of Timers via the Menu Bar
* Automatic Backup Keeps Data Safe
* And many more features...

TimeNet Law Control Center has also been released. Control Center allows you to set user permissions and perform live auditing of your TimeNet Law Database. See all changes, when they were made and who they were made by. Control every user in the system and set privileges for what they can and cannot do. TimeNet Law Control Center puts you back in control of your firm.

Feature Highlights:
* Quick and Easy Configuration with Editable Presets and Copy-Paste of User Settings
* Client-Level Permissions - Restrict Specific Clients from Users or Make Clients Read-Only
* Live Auditing - Leave Control Center Open All Day and Watch the Changes Live
* Complete Tracking of who changed what, when, and exactly what was changed

Pricing and Availability:
TimeNet Law 2.4 is available now, and on sale for a limited time! On February 15th, 2011 the sale prices will end. TimeNet Law Control Center is available now.



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Yahoo Announces 'Livestand' Digital Newsstand for iPad

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Yahoo announced Livestand, a digital newsstand for iPad and Android tablets during a conference call today.

-
As the premier digital media company, we see a clear opportunity to push the boundaries of personalization to deliver intelligent experiences specifically tailored for each individual. This ultra personalized content experience is our vision for Livestand from Yahoo! – a digital newsstand, delivering a wealth of ever-changing content from multiple publishers, continuously programmed by a person's interests and contexts.

With Livestand from Yahoo!, what you're reading will be personalized based on your interests, your location and even the time of day. Your experiences, which will begin on tablet form factors, will include intuitive touch interactions and an elegant design that focuses foremost on the content.

As the media landscape continues to evolve with mobile and tablet experiences top of mind, publishers and advertisers must expand their content to these platforms to stay in front of consumers. We see an opportunity to provide publishers and advertisers with a pipeline for fresh and active content and to help them reach and engage their most valuable audiences.

With Livestand, we're using ad formats that evoke the emotion of TV advertising with a highly-visual magazine-like experience. And they're combined with the effectiveness of an Internet ad that's data-rich, actionable, even location aware. It's all personalized and in context – just like our content.

In the first half of 2011, you'll see Yahoo!'s vast digital content library come to life through Livestand from Yahoo! – from Sports, News, Finance, Flickr, omg!, and the Yahoo! Contributor Network – as iPad and Android tablet applications.




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Verizon iPhone 4 Lines Are 'Laughably Short'

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BusinessInsider is reporting that lineups for the Verizon iPhone 4 have been underwhelming.

The lines, so far, are not very long. (And some are laughably short.) But that's not entirely surprising, given that it is FREEZING outside in many cities; that online pre-orders have already started shipping to peoples' homes and offices; and that this is only kind-of halfway a new iPhone.

RBC Capital's Mike Abramsky offered some reasons for why the Verizon iPhone 4 launch might not perform as well as the AT&T one.
● The iPhone 4 at Verizon is new, but not novel (vs. when AT&T first launched its version of the iPhone 4).
● A lot of existing Verizon customers with Google (GOOG) Android phones are still on contract.
● AT&T offered customers an early upgrade option; Verizon did not.
● There are a lot of AT&T iPhone owners who might like to switch, but are still on contract.
● Verizon's data plan ($30/mos.) is more expensive than AT&T's $25 and $15 offerings.
● AT&T's first-quarter iPhone 4 sales covered 13 weeks vs. Verizon's 7 weeks.
● Some potential Verizon customers are holding out for the iPhone 5, expected to arrive this summer.

It is a bit strange that the line ups are so short considering Verizon announced its most successful first day of sales in the history of the company after it sold out of iPhone 4 pre-orders in less than one day.




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It Only Takes Six Minutes to Reveal Your iPhone Passwords

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Researchers at the German Fraunhofer Institute for Secure Information Technology have demonstrated that it only takes six minutes to reveal the passwords stored in your iPhone keychain, reports PCWorld.

The researchers jailbreak the device then install SSH. They then copy a keychain access script to the phone. The script uses system functions to access entries in the keychain and outputs the details to the attacker.

The attack works because the cryptographic key on current iOS devices is based on material available within the device and is independent of the passcode, the researchers said. This means attackers with access to the phone can create the key from the phone in their possession without having to hack the encrypted and secret passcode.

"As soon as attackers are in the possession of an iPhone or iPad and have removed the device's SIM card, they can get a hold of e-mail passwords and access codes to corporate VPNs and WLANs as well," said the researchers in a statement. "Control of an e-mail account allows the attacker to acquire even more additional passwords: For many web services such as social networks the attacker only has to request a password reset."

This type of attack could be prevented by remotely wiping a lost or stolen device using Find My iPhone.

You can see the attack being demonstrated in the video below...



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Hipstamatic App Gets Updated to Shoot Rapid-Fire Images

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Hipstamatic has been updated with the ability to rapid-fire up to nine images in a row without waiting for processing.

Digital photography never looked so analog. The Hipstamatic brings back the look, feel, unpredictable beauty, and fun of plastic toy cameras of the past! The Hipstamatic keeps the the quirks of shooting old school but gives you the ability to swap lenses, film, and flash settings all with the swipe of a finger.

Features:
• Swap lenses, flashes, and films for hundreds of different effects
• Instantly share your best prints to Facebook, Flickr, and Tumblr
• Enter our monthly photo contests to win amazing prizes
• Order real analog prints delivered to your door, right from the app

Characterized by vignettes, blurring, over saturation, discolored images, Hipstaprints have a casual and seemingly accidental snapshot feel. The Hipstamatic can be downloaded to any iPhone sporting the 3.1 or beyond software update. For $1.99 you can download the base model Hipstamatic which includes a great set of standard lenses, films, and flashes to get started. Additional camera gear is bundled within the app as 'Hipstapaks' and start at 99 cents. Each Hipstapak includes multiple items.

-----------------------------------------------
STANDARD EQUIPMENT (INCLUDED)
-----------------------------------------------
John S lens
Jimmy lens
Kaimal Mark II lens
Ina's 1969 film
Kodot Verichrome film
Blanko film
Standard flash
Dreampop flash

-----------------------------------------------
CURRENT HIPSTAPAKS (available in-app)
-----------------------------------------------
Williamsburg [99¢]
Includes Helga Viking lens, 3 color flash gels, and Pistil film.

The Portland [99¢]
Includes the Lucifer VI lens and BlacKeys film.

Shibuya 渋谷区 [99¢]
Includes the Roboto Glitter lens, Berry Pop flash, and Float film.

Camden [99¢]
Includes Alfred Infrared film and BlacKeys Supergrain film

The Mission [99¢]
Includes Bettie XL lens, Eggshell White camera case, and Ina's 1935 film

What's New In This Version:
● Quicksta Snap film queue system - as you shoot images are processed in the background, enabling you to rapid-fire up to nine images in a row without waiting for processing (requires iOS 4)
● Camera Bag organization system - rearrange and disable lenses, flashes, and films, as well as specifying ones for shake-to-randomize
● Improved HipstaMart, with shiny new FreePak products
● New limited edition FreePak: Fashion FreePak (Chunky Lens and Fashionista Camera Case)
● Other bug fixes and user interface refinements

You can purchase Hipstamatic from the App Store for $1.99.










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Turn by Turn Directions Coming Soon to Google Maps thanks to an Upcoming Tweak

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TheZimm and infectionFX are bringing native Turn By Turn Directions to Google Maps for the iPhone via an upcoming Cydia Tweak.

No word on when it will be available but you can check out the video teaser below...




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Verizon Customer Gets Shipped an iPhone 4 in Test Mode

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A Verizon customer has been shipped a new iPhone 4 that has been left in test mode, according to an Engadget report.

This is apparently a production Verizon iPhone that was shipped out to an actual customer this week, which... well, let's just put it this way: it's not going to help you play Angry Birds any faster. They've tried to restore the phone using iTunes to no avail, so here's the million-dollar question: collectible or worthless return?

Take a look at the images below...










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