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Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year, To All.. Even Zune Owners

Farewell, 2008. Hello, 2009. The first thing that comes to mind as we ring in the new year, (Besides the hilarious-unless-its-happening-to-you freeze up of 30GB Zunes) is that we're one year closer to 2011. I don't need to tell you why that's Armageddon. Oh, I do? Because that's the next year without to zeroes with which those wacky New Year's glasses can be made. Those could be bleak times, indeed.

But that's for another day. For now, Happy New Year, and thank you for being part of our first full year of The Digital Lifestyle. We're looking forward to a year of fun new stories, shows, and re-designs to make TDL better.

Monday, December 29, 2008

TDL Live This Week: 12/29

It's the final look at Apple news and rumors in 2008. iPhones at Wal Mart, Apple Media servers? iPhone Nanos? We cover it all this week. Show notes/credits are below. Enjoy!

Apple Rejects iPhone Application That Lets Users Jiggle Breasts

Apple's online App Store has decided it'd rather not be stacked with an iPhone application that lets users jiggle a pair of breasts.
The "iBoobs" application was rejected because Apple deemed it "objectionable content," the U.K.'s Register tech blog reported.
"If you believe that you can make the necessary changes so that iBoobs does not violate the iPhone SDK Agreement we encourage you to do so," Apple reportedly told the creator, Mystic Game Development of Rotterdam in the Netherlands.
The iBoobs application is a computer animation of a large pair of breasts in a bikini top. Shaking the iPhone makes them wobble from side to side, or up and down, depending on the movement.

Amazon Touts Best Holiday Sales Ever; Acer, Apple Win

Amazon.com (AMZN) this morning announced the holiday season was its best ever, with 72.9 items going out the door per second on the peak day, December 15, for a haul that day of 6.3 million items. The company lists in its press release a number of humorous stats regarding holiday purchases — enough coffee sold to give every citizen of Seattle a cup a day for two months — and lists best sellers, which include, in electronics, the Samsung (SSNLF.PK) 52-inch hi-def TV, the Apple (AAPL) iPod touch 8-gigabyte, and the Acer (2353.TW) Aspire One 8.9-inch Netbook.

$99 iPhone Arrives, But Not at Walmart

Apple’s App Store sees big iPod Touch downloads this Christmas
by Doug Aamoth on December 29, 2008

Looks like the iPod Touch had a good Christmas, as App Store downloads on December 25th increased three-fold or more for most titles.
The boost in sales "appears to be from a large influx of iPod Touch users," according to MacRumors.com, who noted that it would have been much easier to give an iPod Touch as a Christmas gift versus an iPhone, which would have to be activated and whatnot.

Google, Microsoft, Apple sued over preview icons

A Michigan-based networking company on Wednesday filed a lawsuit against Google, Microsoft, and Apple, alleging that all three tech giants violated a patent it owns on the use of document-preview icons--or thumbnails--in operating systems.

In the suit (PDF), Cygnus Systems targets Google's Chrome, Microsoft's Vista and Internet Explorer 8, and Apple's iPhone, Safari, and Mac OS X as patent infringers. Apple uses the patent-protected technology in its Finder and Cover Flow Mac OS X features, the lawsuit claims.
Cygnus describes the technology covered by the patent as "methods and systems for accessing one or more computer files via a graphical icon, wherein the graphical icon includes an image of a selected portion or portions of one or more computer files."

Wal-Mart Has Started Selling the iPhone

Wal-Mart on Friday confirmed one of the worst-kept secrets in technology: It will begin selling Apple's iPhone on Sunday.
But the retail giant officially knocked down one other rumor that had been making the rounds: It won't be selling a special 4-gigabyte version of the iconic phone for $99.
Instead, the retail giant will offer the same two standard iPhone models that are already sold at Apple, AT&T and Best Buy stores. Wal-Mart customers will be able to buy the phones at a discount, but not much of one.
The retailer's stores will sell the 8-gigabyte model for $197 and the 16-gigabyte for $297. Both of those prices are $2 less than they can be found at other outlets.

The Dream iPhone Pro

--The photo is the story--

That's good, but we thought it could be a bit better. We fixed the keyboard to make it more rational and compact, losing some unneeded keys. With the space, we added what it's really needed to make the iPhone a true Nintendo DS competitor: A direction pad and two buttons. For the D-Pad, we didn't want to reinvent the wheel and just copied Nintendo's tried-and-proved design.

Apple wants to swipe your iPhone

Apple has applied for a patent to replace some tap-based gestures on the multi-touch displays of a variety of computing devices, phones, and media players with "swipe gestures" - that is, making a device's display responsive to a finger being drawn across it rather than simply tapping it.
Swipe gestures, of course, currently exist on the iPhone and iPod touch for rudimentary tasks such as moving from one home screen to another or pinching images, but this new patent would extend that capability to enhancing what's now keyboard-based input.


Rumors abound, Apple working on media server?
According to 9to5, the new product will include a Dynamic DNS system to tie in with MobileMe; this will provide username.me.com domains for easier access across the Internet. In addition, the device will include AFP filesharing and Time Machine backup stores. The device will not run off of Mac OS X Server, as you might suspect; rather, it would run the same system and processor that the Time Capsule does.


Thursday, December 25, 2008

Griffin Technology TuneFlex Aux Review

I recently purchased the TuneFlex Aux from Amazon using the Remembers feature of the Amazon App [see my Amazon App review]. Griffin Technology has been a long time creator of unique and quality products for Apple products, and the TuneFlex Aux is another of their great creations. The product is intended to be used in cars with an Aux in for the stereo. The TuneFlex plugs into your car's 12v power adapter to power your iPod of choice (the TuneFlex comes with 7 iPod adapters - see below - to securely connect your iPod). The adapters lock into the neck with two ball bearing like mechanisms . . . your iPod isn't going anywhere. It has a gooseneck-like arm to adjust the positioning of your iPod. The neck is quite thick and firmly stays in whatever position you adjust it to.

The Aux location is built into the base where the TuneFlex Aux plugs into your power adapter and also has a volume control there as well.

I would have been very pleased with the TuneFlex Aux if it correctly fit in my car. In the picture above you see the 12v power location is unobstructed so the TuneFlex can easily fit in place. In my car, the power adapter is recessed which leaves limited clearance from left to right. The Aux location on the base of the power adapter is too thick preventing the TuneFlex from properly sitting in the power socket . . . this renders the unit useless . . . no power and all is a deal breaker. I can't really fault Griffin for this design, and they can't really cater to all makes and models of cars (mine is a Subaru Legacy) but should serve as a warning to anyone with limited clearance where your 12v source is located . . . this item very well might not fit.

Overall Rating: B+ (despite returning the product)
Pros: Adapters for multiple iPods, robust neck
Cons: Thick base at the power adapter makes fitment challenging for some makes and models of cars

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

You got an iPhone or iPod For Christmas, Now What?

Santa brought his bag of goodies to your house and look what he left: A brand new iPhone, or iPod! For those of you who are new to the Apple family, welcome! For those who received a long awaited upgrade, well welcome to you as well!

Here are some tips and tricks to get you started.

iPod Clickwheel Owners: Congratulations on getting the tried and true clickwheel version of the iPod. The good news: You probably have far longer battery life, and far more storage than those iPhone and iPod Touch friends of yours. Who needs a touchscreen anyhow. The bad news: The clickwheel iPods do not play the games and apps found in the iTunes app store, but that doesn't mean you can't find games for your iPod. There's a section called iPod Games that's just for you. Nearly all the games are $4.99. Are they worth it? Well, we've compiled video reviews of all the games, so you can find out before you buy. Just click here. And another quick tip: it can be tricky to find a case for your iPod (especially the classic) since there have been so many slightly different variations on it. Either head to your local Apple Store / Best Buy, or we suggest one of these cases: If you want to run with your iPod clickwheel, check out the Belkin Neoprene Armbands. If you'd prefer a soft gel-type skin for your iPod Nano, then check these out.

iPhone Owners: Depending on your activation method, you may have had to know this one was going to be under the tree. Welcome to the iPhone club. You now own the device that changed the cell phone industry forever. If this is your first device to use the iTunes App Store, a word of warning. The reviews of apps on the site are notoriously unreliable. Pay more attention to the overall rating of the app, rather than individual comments. Most of the prominent comments just complain about price. Or better yet, check out our independent iPhone and iPod Touch App Reviews. If you need a case (my personal preference is to go case-less. I'm a rebel, what can I say...) I'd suggest a hard case like the Inspiretech Full Protect Case.

iPod Touch Owners: Look at you! You own the Cadillac of iPods! You tell the world, I don't need copious amounts of storage. I simply want the most functionality, and what Steve Jobs referred to as the "funnest iPod yet." First, promise you won't be upset if the storage increases, or the price decreases by late January. Promise? Ok, on we go. Again, the app store is a big part of what makes this baby purr, so be sure to check out our iPhone and iPod App Reviews. Just remember, not all of the apps work with the Touch, so be careful when buying. Again, a hard case is probably the best choice to protect your investment. Here's a great and tough option from Otterbox.

Apps worth checking out (check for compatibility with your device: some are iPhone only)

Pano - Turns your iPhone into a panoramic picture taking machine.

The Price is Right Game - If you enjoy the TV game, you'll love this version. It's a little pricey, but worth it for the fans.

Pandora Radio - It's free, and gives you a great way to discover new music.

Chopper - When we first reviewed this game, I wasn't thrilled. But since then, it's really grown on me. And it's a lot cheaper than it used to be.

AIM AOL Instant Messenger - It's not perfect, but if you want to bring AOL instant messenger on the road, this is your best option.

These are just a few starting points. There are thousands and thousands of apps out there, so subscribe to our video reviews (that you can then watch on your iPhone or iPod).

Enjoy your new toys!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Four Potential Positives of a Jobs-less Apple

First a few disclaimers. 1. We do not wish any ill will to Steve Jobs. 2. We have no reason to think his departure is imminent. 3. We're not calling for him to leave Apple, not in the least.

However, when Jobs is no longer with the company, be it next week, month, or decade, there are some potentially positives that could come along with the change:

1. Lower Cost Market Entry
It's been said time and time again, that the average price paid for a PC is falling. Other than the foray with the Mac Mini (let's hope for an update there, soon) Apple has all but ignored this market. Years ago Jobs made the point that luxury automakers are doing just fine with a sliver of the auto industry. His point at the time was to show that Apple wasn't in peril if it didn't have 15 percent of the market. While true, times have changed. No one is sitting around wondering whether Apple will survive these days. Instead the question becomes where can Apple find more growth. Like it or not, the low-end of the market is the answer. Plus there's a practical reason: Apple has created a largely successful ecosystem of iPod/iPhone/Mac. While many wannabe iPods have come and gone, if another company is successful at dominating the growing low-end market, they could potentially launch a legitimate competitor to the whole Apple environment. Without Jobs, Apple would have even more pressure from outside, and from what we hear, more support internally for aggressively pursuing this market.

2. Partnerships
One of the great premises of web 2.0 is the community sharing, and community experience. Companies also realize they can be leaner and more competitive when they work together. Sure, Apple could bury Netflix if they wanted to, but why re-invent the wheel? Partner with them instead. Apple is always set to "go it alone." If Apple does lose it dominance in music, for example, i would expect it to come at the hands of some sort of partnership among many companies, rather than a single competitor. Fortunately for Apple, so far these companies have shown themselves as inept at working together. (See "Plays For Sure")

3. Employee Blogs / Openness
The end of Apple's participation in Macworld will leave a giant void for the Mac faithful, who want to be in on what's going on. One way to satisfy that curiosity, and control the flow of information at the same time would be employee blogs. I think most Mac fans would find it fascinating to read a post from Johnny Ive for example, talking about the trial and error of creating the aluminum unibody. Let's see some videos of testing. Let's see some prototypes. We're talking about revealing this info after the fact, in a manner that would keep the faithful tuned in, and wouldn't reveal anything to put the company at a disadvantage. No one's asking for a three-year product roadmap, just some glimpse into the process of creating the products.

4. iPhone as a (more) open platform
I've seen the future. In five years we may be living in a world in which all phones with the exception of the iPhone run some variant of Android. These are the two mobile platforms of the future. Android will presumably be comprised of many of the concepts described in the other suggestions: several handset manufacturers agreeing/partnering on a single OS, an OS created in an open-source manner, and meticulously chronicled in blogs across the web. Over at Apple, we'll have updates pushed out when Apple says they're ready, and app developers in the dark, with their hands tied in what their apps can do. The iPhone has an impressive processor, and one can assume it will only get better. Consumers will wonder why can this $79 phone have touch capabilities, AND flash, AND copy and paste, and yet the (then) $149 iPhone doesn't?

So there you have it. The best news is, none of these changes would require Jobs to be gone from the company. He could decide at any minute to implement these changes. Given Apple's history though, don't hold your breath.

What do you think? Are there other potential positives of a Jobs-less Apple? Are we off our rockers this time?

Dr. Awesome for the iPhone and iPod Touch Review

Who doesn't want to be awesome? And who doesn't want to be a doctor? (well, minus the gory parts, and the tough med school exams) Here's your chance to be both with Dr. Awesome for the iPhone and iPod Touch. The gameplay, which is fun (briefly) involves slicing away cells so that viruses cannot survive. Along with fun cut scenes, Dr. Awesome cleverly populates the patient's names using your iPhone contacts list. While a nice feature, it would also be one that would be nice to disable. Here's a full look:

Monday, December 22, 2008

iSports for iPhone and iPod Touch Review

It's a busy time in the sports world, as the NFL heads into the playoffs, the college bowl games are just off in the distance, and the NHL and NBA are in full swing. How's a sports fan supposed to stay connected to everything that's happening? And, can you do it for free? iSports for the iPhone and iPod Touch provides the latest scores for several sports (NHL coming soon) along with news, and "superfan" services.

The interface is straightforward, and provides at-a-glance look at scores. It can be a little sluggish to load, but the info is well worth it. Take a look:

Thursday, December 18, 2008

The Dark Knight: Batmobile Game for iPhone and iPod Touch

Great news. The Digital Lifestyle just saved you 99 cents. Oh sure, it seems tempting enough... a licensed Batman app for less than a dollar! How could this possibly go wrong? Well, it does, and in fine fashion. Rather than tell you about the game, below is the video review. And not only is it a review, but it's a look at the full, yes full gameplay of the Batmobile Game for the iPhone and iPod Touch.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

The ultimate blogging notebook

Gasp . . . it's not a Mac. The Acer 8.9" notebook being sold exclusively at RadioShack might be the ultimate blogging notebook and at $99 who can argue?! You get a laundry list of features including Wi-Fi, WiMAX and 3G access, built in webcam, 160GB HD, and a multi card reader for the photos. For the mobile blogger there really isn't much more you could want. With the cell connectivity you can blog from grandma's house, or from the park, or . . . well you get the idea. So what's the catch?!? The $99 price tag is really $1,539 before tax [GASP!!!]. See when you get the Acer at $99 you are also signing up for a 2 year AirCard contract with AT&T. 2.5hrs of power really isn't all that much, and the RadioShack website seems to neglect the conditions needed to yield 2.5hrs . . . chances are good it's not with the 3G turned on.

If you're in the market for a subnotebook and don't need the 3G access, I say save the $300 and get a new Macbook instead.

Checkout Ryan's post from November. He also had a runin with an Acer.

Raging Thunder for iPhone and iPod Touch Review

At launch of the App Store, the choice of racing games was slim. Now there's more to choose from, but that doesn't mean they've necessarily gotten any better. Today we're looking at Raging Thunder. A racing game that would probably be acceptable if no other racing games existed, and if we didn't know the capabilities of the phone. Raging Thunder feels like a cell phone port with some accelerometer control of steering. The most jarring cell phone gaming-like experience has to be the annoying sound when two cars collide. I had to check to make sure I didn't pick up my old SonyEricsson T68i. Here's a full look at Raging Thunder:

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

An Optimistic Possibility From Apple's Macworld Decision

Earlier today, it was announced that Steve Jobs would not be giving the Keynote address at Macworld, and that this would mark Apple's last year at the event.

Within minutes, Apple-follower's heads (including mine) were spent spinning. But let me try to offer one optimistic explanation. Apple is, after all, Apple, Inc. and no longer Apple Computer Inc. Lest we forget there's another big electronics event in January: CES.

Maybe Jobs is positioning himself as keynote speaker for CES in 2010. It would be a terrible move to show up at CES this year, while the Mac faithful are gathered elsewhere. It would make sense though, that Jobs would want to go from Keynote speaker of his company's event, to Keynote speaker for the entire industry.

I don't believe Apple can be abandoning big events. They have served so well for launches of products like the iPhone. Sure the HiFi speaker could be introduced at a small press event, but grand, revolutionary products are a different story.

Sure, there are plenty of reasons this could simply be wishful thinking. Let us know your thoughts below.

Apple Drops a Bomb: No Jobs at MacWorld. Apple Leaving Next Year

Apple just dropped a bomb. Steve Jobs will not be giving the Macworld keynote, AND this will be the last year for Apple to attend the event.

More detailed thoughts once we pick our collective jaws off the floor...

My Amazon App Review - Buy Now

Just made my first purchase using the Amazon app from the app store and it was flawless. Amazon got this app right and is now bridging the mobil device to e-commerce bridge. This app is revolutionary for both e-commerce as well as the iPhone / iPod Touch.

The Amazon app is free on the app store. The interface is simple. The home screen shows suggestions, allows you to start a new search or you can log in to your account. The next option is to start a search, followed by a cart button to view and modify items to be purchased.

Now, the next button called Remembers is really cool. The idea goes something like this . . .

1. snap a picture of an item
2. send it to Amazon
3. Amazon matches the item and presents you with results
4. you buy the item

Easily at hand was my BlackBerry Curve generously supplied by my day job. I have no interest in buying one or having one to begin with, but it was easily accessible. My first attempt to use this feature resulted in my 2G iPhone locking up. After a restart and a 2nd attempt, the photo was successfully uploaded and within seconds I received an email from Amazon stating I had results. Amazon thought my BlackBerry Curve was a BlackBerry Bold . . . not exactly correct but impressive none the less. This technology is similar to like.com where you can upload a photo and it will deliver search results based on the photo [like has an app on the store as well . . . review to follow].

The next option is called More. This screen contains Wish List, Account access (this is where you can find recent transactions, track packages, etc.), provide feedback, and see different terms of use (you know . . . the legal stuff).

I ordered a Griffin Technology TuneFlex Aux (review to follow once received). The app walked me through the entire process prompting me to enter different account information along the way. That's the beauty of the App. It's blatantly clear what you're supposed to do and it works.

Google Drops From Most Trusted Company List, Apple Joins

Google, the "do no evil" behemoth has dropped off the Ponemon Institute/ TRUSTe privacy trust survey. New to the survey this year? Why it's our friends in Cupertino. Apple made its debut all the way at #8. Also new to the list? Facebook. American Express comes in at #1. Facebook was lucky to make it in before this month's virus started to make it's way through the site.

I can't think of anything Apple has done differently in the last year to warrant the sudden jump. Brand recognition? Is there something else I'm missing?

Lemonade Stand for iPhone and iPod Touch Review

A classic that many lifelong Apple users will probably remember: Lemonade Stand has made its way to the iPhone and iPod Touch. It's simple, straightforward game, teaching the basics of running a business: advertising, inventory, and pricing. Here's a look:

Monday, December 15, 2008

It's a Beta

Before Web 2.0, beta tags were reserved for software apps that were under development and served as a use-at-your-own-risk notification to would be users.

Seems like the IN thing these days in web software. It's a free pass for things not to work . . . can't be mad because it's a beta. Some really popular and well used apps are classified as a beta, Gmail is one of them. Google this past week removed the coveted beta tag from its new browser just 100-ish days after it's public release.

So here's my question . . . why isn't the browser available for the Mac?!? If it's far enough along to shed the beta classification surely it's far enough along to have a Mac counterpart. I thought perhaps I just missed the Chrome debut for the Mac so I went back to the Chrome download site and sure enough the email me button is still there for Mac users. Does this mean Chrome will get it's beta tag back when [if] the Mac version comes out? We'll all have to wait and see.....

Turkey Hunt for the iPhone and iPod Touch Review

Gobble, Gobble... Thanksgiving might be long gone, but it looks like some turkeys may have made it through. It's time for you to change that in Turkey Hunt. The gameplay is simplistic to say the least (just keep tapping), but there's something oddly addicitve about Turkey Hunt:

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Rearden Personal Assistant Digital secretary does it all - 2009 Knowledge Navigator

I don't know about you, but I don't have a secretary. No one to make me copies, book my appointments, schedule my travel, book my hotel, or make my dinner reservations. But soon my woes may come to an end thanks to a kick ass company in San Jose (just down the road from Apple BTW). Rearden Commerce is developing a software package, the Rearden Personal Assistant, that will intelligently take your plans and make modifications on the fly. For example: If your flight is delayed, the software will notify you of the delay, modify your dinner reservations (notify your guests . . . it would be tragic if they didn't get the memo) and then let you know once all attendees have responded.

This software is based on a military application developed by SRI International (up the road from Apple in Menlo Park). Now I know you're thinking . . . how can I get my copy and what will it cost me. Good question. Rearden Commerce hasn't made their product openly available. It's currently only released to a few partner companies, but will be rolling out to Chase card members as a service (likely paid, but we'll have to keep an eye out to confirm) in the not too distant future. Chase has an equity stake in the company and as part of the deal their card-members will benefit.

Personally I think the concept is great, but all it's going to take is one miss and someone doesn't make their flight or stands up a client because they didn't get the meeting change notification and it's a deal breaker. I'm a Chase card-member so I'll be looking to get my hands on Slipstream and will write a full review. Until then checkout the Knowledge Navigator from 1987.

Perhaps John Sculley was onto something...

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Sweet Apple Ad on Yahoo! Games

Check out the sweet Apple advertising on http://games.yahoo.com/ It would seem at the time of this post the ad (previously appearing at the top of the page) is not currently running. Hopefully it will be posted again so you can see the page elements shift along with the iPod Touch in the ad below.

The advertising is based on the original iPhone / iPod Touch gaming commercial seen here:

Friday, December 12, 2008

Five Hidden iTunes Holiday Gems

'Tis the season for holiday music. And while you might be quite familiar/tired of some of the overplayed traditional songs we scoured the iTunes store to bring you some refreshing sounds of the season.

Fiona Apple's Rendition of Frosty The Snowman:
Fiona Apple may not be the first singer to come to mind when you think of spreading holiday cheer, which makes this track, irony free, quite compelling. Fiona Apple: Frosty The Snowman

The Brian Setzer Orchestra Does Sleigh Ride
Ah the 90's... After the flannel shirts and grunge started to fade, Ska and Swing ever so briefly made a return to fill the void. (Ok, Swing is still enjoying a higher level of popularity than in the 80's. No need for nasty letters/emails.) Setzer and his band souped up this holiday classic all their own. It's a bright, fresh take on the classic.Check out Sleigh Ride from The Brian Setzer Orchestra

Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert, Can I Interest You In Hannukah?
Here at TDL HQ, we eagerly anticipated the Stephen Colbert Christmas Special. Unfortunately, it was a bit of a letdown. The highlight though, was the music, and specifically the Stewart/Colbert duet "Can I Interest You In Hannukah?" Let's face it, other than Adam Sandler's Chanukah Song, this is one holiday that gets overlooked in the sounds of the season. Stewart tries to explain Hannukah to Colbert with catchy and humorous results.

The Vince Guaraldi Trio: A Charlie Brown Christmas
This might qualify as a classic, but I'm going to let it slide because A: It's a fine selection, and B: It's at a heck of a sale price right now. Charlie may not win at baseball, but his Christmas album is a home run (come on, allow me some schmaltz here!).

The Bird and The Bee: Carol of The Bells
Some friends of mine, will be less than thrilled to see this one on the list. Where others hear an annoying rendition of a classic that's trying too hard, I hear a light, fresh, but not-too far in left field cover. The iTunes Preview will give you a good sense of whether you'll love it or hate it. Let us know what you think in the comments.

Happy Holidays, Everyone!

Disney's Fairies Fly for iPhone and iPod Touch Review

Disney has made its foray into the world of iPhone and iPod Touch gaming with Fairies Fly. We'll give them kudos for bringing a girl-centric game to the App Store. The graphics are great, and the gameplay is fine, but simplistic. Here's a full look:

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Topple for the iPhone and iPod Touch Review

Take one part Jenga, add a reverse Tetris, in which you want to stack the blocks high, and you've got Topple for the iPhone and iPod Touch. Each block has its own personality, adding an extra level of whimsy to the game. Here's a look:

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

The Price is Right iPhone Game Review

The Price is Right is one of those shows I feel like I watched a ton of episodes as a kid, but when I think back, I didn't miss that much school, so I don't know how it go so ingrained in my mind. From the Showcase Showdown, to the Shell Game, to Cliffhangers, it's all taking up a lot of brain cells, but I digress...

So if you're a fan of the show, either the Barker years or Drew Carey's take, you'll want to check out The Price is Right for iPhone and iPod Touch. It's a solid re-creation of the home viewing experience, and for those of us who will never make it to the studio, this may be as close to the real thing as we will get.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

TDL Live This Week: 12/8-12/15

In case you missed it live, here's a look at our weekly roundup of Apple news, presented, as always, in a serious fashion:

Apple deletes Mac antivirus suggestion


Apple removed an old item from its support site late Tuesday that urged Mac customers to use multiple antivirus utilities and now says the Mac is safe "out of the box."
"We have removed the KnowledgeBase article because it was old and inaccurate," Apple spokesperson Bill Evans said.
"The Mac is designed with built-in technologies that provide protection against malicious software and security threats right out of the box," he said. "However, since no system can be 100 percent immune from every threat, running antivirus software may offer additional protection."
Apple's previous security message in its KnowledgeBase, which serves as a tutorial for Mac users, was: "Apple encourages the widespread use of multiple antivirus utilities so that virus programmers have more than one application to circumvent, thus making the whole virus writing process more difficult."

Confirmed: iPhone Coming to Walmart By the End of December, Regularly Priced
Store representatives at multiple locations confirmed to the publication that employees are training to sell the handset, which will hit shelves by the end of the month. This will make Walmart the second non-mothership retail chain to sell the iPhone, and by far the largest. But what about all the $99 4GB model nonsense? It hasn't been confirmed, and still doesn't sound that likely.

Some analysts still say that the $99 iPhone will probably happen eventually, but others are specific enough to claim that a Bentonville, Arkansas location will sell the discontinued 4GB model in addition to the 8GB and 16GB versions, which have been confirmed at their normal $199 and $299 prices.


Google Earth Browser Plugin for Mac OS X


Mac users now have access to the Google Earth Browser Plugin. Some Mac users have been eagerly awaiting the arrival of the plug-in since it was introduced for Windows in May 2008 and for the iPhone in October 2008. The plug-in is compatible with both PowerPC and Intel-based Macs, and works in both Safari 3.1 and later and Firefox 3.0 and later.


Microsoft to release 'Softwear' retro clothing line


Microsoft says it’s a “clothing line that taps the nostalgia of when PCs were just starting to change our lives,” and that it aims to “showcase the DOS days of the software company that now connects over a billion people.”


Argentina-based OpeniMac now selling Mac clones


Mmeet Argentina-based OpeniMacwho, besides clearly angling for a trademark lawsuit, is also going ahead and selling Mac OS X-based computers at prices that undercut Apple's own offerings.
Well, in Argentina, anyway, as the country doesn't have its own Apple Store, online or brick-and-mortar. But if you live in the U.S., the prices aren't really cheaper than buying a comparable Mac.
The company bills its product line with the tag “Benefits of a Mac. Price of a PC.” Two models are available: the "OpeniMac" is a $990 2.53GHz Core 2 Duo machine that also sports 2GB of memory, a 320GB SATA drive, SuperDrive, ATI Radeon HD PRO, and even a 6-in-1 memory card reader.

Apple was 5th busiest retail site on Cyber Monday


While its competitors were offering deep discounts to pull in recession-battered customers, Apple (AAPL) had already ended its Black Friday sale and by Monday was back to charging its usual premium prices for laptops, desktops and MP3 players.
Yet its online store still managed to grab the No. 5 spot in comScore’s ranking of the top 20 most visited retail sites on Monday Dec. 1, handily beating not only Dell (DELL) and Hewlett Packard (HPQ), but such full-fledged retail outlets as Best Buy (BBY), Toys “R” Us and Circuit City .



From Portales: beginner’s Spanish to the advanced A Buen Puerto: Fast Forward in Spanish, you’ll find a variety of Spanish course material from the Open University on iTunes U. And once you’re conversant in Spanish, you could sample the German and French language courses, as well.


Grey Lines Mar MacBook Air Displays


Some MacBook Air users have been reporting the appearance of grey horizontal lines across the screens of their late 2008 models. Discussion threads on the issue began in early November 2008 on both Apple's discussion forums and the MacRumors forums. There have been slight variations in the description of the issue, but most accounts agree the lines are grey or white, horizontal or slightly angled, granulated or pixelated in appearance, and are very subtle. Overall the lines are said to give the screen the appearance of a piece of parchment or recycled paper. Also, the lines are said to appear at the initial boot; they do not develop over time.


Rosetta Becomes Optional in Snow Leopard?


Separately, we've heard that the newest version of Snow Leopard makes Rosetta an optional installation. Rosetta is Apple's PowerPC emulator for their Intel Macs, allowing Intel Mac owners to run legacy software that has not been upgraded for the Intel platform. This news comes shortly after an announcement that IBM had purchased Transitive, the company behind Rosetta's technology. The final release of Snow Leopard is also rumored to require an Intel Mac, thereby being the first version of Mac OS X to drop PowerPC support.


Three Apps Define Apple's Mobile Platform

News Commentary. Last week, Apple announced that the App Store had 300 million downloads and 10,000 applications. Three apps matter more.
It's not so much what they do but what they mean. These three applications define App Store, supported by _oc="null">iPhone and iPod Touch, as an emerging mobile platform. Right now, Apple has created the leading contender to replace the PC as the platform people use most.

The apps:
Amazon Mobile

Google Mobile App

Obama `08

Number of applications does not a successful platform make. Volume is important, but the sticky quality of applications/services and the ability to make real money matter more.
All successful platforms share a few common traits:
They have at least one killer application people really want

They make available a breadth of useful applications

Development tools and APIs make it easy to create good applications

Third parties make lots of money
There is a fifth attribute not common to all successful platforms, but unique to some: They make customer engagement easier, a quality that some connected gaming devices/software and some Web 2.0 platforms imbue.

Steve Jobs participating in ad song selection
Apple CEO Steve Jobs is himself involved in picking the songs used incompanyadvertising, a musician claims. Lars Iversen, a member of The Asteroids Galaxy Tour, notes that when "Around the Bend" was chosen for an iPod touch TV ad, a company representing the band -- Synch -- first got in touch with Apple, and then participated in a direct meeting with Jobs. The executive is said to have picked the song to use at this meeting, expressing particular enthusiasm for the music.

Earlier this year CEO Steve Jobs implied Apple was watching small-device categories like tablets and Netbooks to see if they actually take off as a mega-trend, but in the meantime the company had other priorities. Mac tablet rumors stretch back for years, and in the past Jobs has quickly shot down talk of an Apple-produced competitor to Amazon's Kindle, which has been interpreted as a sign Apple was doing just that.

Adobe and Belkin back out of Macworld, IDG not concerned
IDG World Expo isn't too concerned, or so it claims. A spokesperson issued this statement:

While Adobe has decided to shift its focus at for Macworld this year, the company will still be actively participating in the event -- several members of the company's product team will be involved in Macworld tracks, including a full day of CS4 demo sessions with Adobe evangelists on Wednesday, January 7.

Every year we see a certain percentage of exhibitors pull out of the event for their own business reasons. In this economic climate, it shouldn’t be a surprise to see this. The important thing to understand is that Macworld Conference & Expo 2009 will be similar in size to last year’s event and attendees will continue to visit nearly 500 great Mac product vendors on our exhibit floors.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Everest: Hidden Expedition for iPhone and iPod Touch Review

I was always a big fan of the Mini Page as a kid. Yes, in a time before iPhones and iPods, Saturday morning entertainment consisted of cartoons and the Mini Page in the local paper. By far my favorite feature was Seek n Find, in which you would try to find hidden objects in a picture. Everest: Hidden Expedition takes this concept to the next level with highly detailed scenes in which you're challenged to find specific items.

The catch? Unlike the old Seek N Find, there's a huge number of items hidden in each picture, and you're tasked with finding a list of specific items before the other three "teams" catch you.

The game play is fun, but it's relatively easy to stay ahead of the other teams. It's worth noting that this is a huge game in terms of filesize. The app weighs in at 117MB, or more than ten times the size of most iPhone apps:

Friday, December 5, 2008

Business on a Mac: Fodeo

This is our first in a series of weekly posts looking at how Macs are being used in different types of businesses. It's not always easy, and sometimes it's downright challenging to use Macs for business. Other times, The Mac gives a distinct business advantage.

Countryside, Illinois - based Fodeo provides in-store and online dvd photo montage services. While we'll see in some of our future profiles that Mac integration isn't always headache-free, Fodeo is doing just fine. Here's a Q & A with Fodeo's Valarie Moody:

Give us an overview of your business:
Our business solves the question of what to do with digital photos when you have very little time or technical knowledge.

How do Macs fit in your workflow?
We use Macs for everything! (Well, except for our POS right now, but that will change). Our video editors use Final Cut Pro, our project coordinators use Photoshop on a Mac for retouching photos before editing or printing, our accounting person uses Quickbooks for Mac, and we will also be tracking our shipped items via a Mac when we switch our POS system to Lightspeed.

What percentage of your business uses Macs?

Why do you use Macs?
Their friendly and reliable!

Would you recommend Apple to other retailers?
Definitely. We've had no issues with viruses or crashes in 4 years of business. Because of our retail set up, many of our customers are surprised to see so many macs. All of the macs are networked with the rest of our equipment, and we've never had a problem with any of the computers, which we can't say the same about the one PC we have.

What specific software do you use on your Macs?
We use Quickbooks software. I use my MacBook Pro as my lifeline. I use all of the Office products for planning and budgeting.

What's the biggest advantage to using Macs for you?
Speed and simplicity, which means less labor costs. Not to mention the more creative things you can do with Macs vs. unreliable PCs.

What's the biggest drawback/issue to using Macs for you?
It used to be the lack of good POS software, but now that's not an issue. The only other drawback is the unfriendliness of some websites dealing with Safari. But even that is barely an issue these days.

If you have a business running on Macs, let us know: feedback@thedigitallifestyle.tv

Spore for the iPod Clickwheel Review

There was a lot of buzz over Spore. Heck it took years to finally ship to consoles, and when it headed to the iphone, the buzz started once again. Off the radar of many though, was a quieter release: Spore: Origins for the clickwheel iPod. Despite being the cheapest version of Spore (not counting the free trial for iPhone) the clickwheel version gives the same gameplay as it's more expensive iPhone counterpart. The clickwheel works relatively well to control your creation, athough customization is a little tricky:

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Apple Store Visit Series: 5th Avenue NYC

This is the first in our series chronicling visits to Apple Stores around the country. Want to help? Send us your store experiences at feedback@thedigitallifestyle.tv

As promised during the last installment of tDL Live, here's my take on the Apple Store 5th Ave. My recent visit (Pre-Thanksgiving) to the store was also my first and I need not take 300 words to talk about the cube . . . it's cool.

Store traffic was high for a rainy Saturday in a down economy. Not only were there many people, but many bags . . . consumers are buying. The store seemed well staffed, I didn't really notice many people standing around looking confused or helpless and I was happy to see the store had a real POS, instead of a small army of specialists swarming with easy pay machines. This is in stark contrast to my local store where it's easy pay, or nothing (I don't know about you, but this easy pay really isn't).

As expected the genius bar and iPod bar were busy and creatives were conducting their one to one sessions.

Overall I enjoyed my first trip to the iconic 5th Ave. store. I'm wondering how they sell desktops though. How would you get it out of the store and what would you do with it once you did? If anyone has purchased a Mac Pro from the 5th Ave. store I'd love to know how they handled that.

Puzzloop for the iPhone and iPod Review

I've always been a fan of Zuma on the iPod clickwheel, and I had no idea that game is actually derivative of Puzzloop, which was originally available on the Playstation, and has now made its way to the iPhone and iPod Touch. Here's a look at the marble shooting puzzler Puzzloop for iPhone and iPod Touch:

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Poladroid for Mac Review

Not every product review we do has to be for a stellar piece of productivity software, or the latest must-have hardware. No, sometimes the software is just plain fun. That's the case with Poladroid. In a nutshell, Poladroid allows you to Polaroid-ize your digital photos. Yes, from the tinting, to the wait time, to the look of the texture of the white photo border, Poladroid has it all. Now if only it had a few extra settings, like the ability to choose the amount of aging, and some cropping options. Still it's definitely worth a try:

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

We're All A-Twitter

Yes, it wasn't so long ago, that we were dissing Twitter. We didn't quite get it, and couldn't see what all the fuss was about. Much like grandpa trying to program the VCR, it was just too newfangled for us.

Well, at long last. The Digital Lifestyle has entered the Twitter age. You can follow us @TdlLive . Yes, that "follow" is probably supposed to be a link somewhere. No, we don't know where it's supposed to link.

Also, that's the official twitter account for the site, meaning multiple people will "tweet." We'll use initials to differentiate. Since I'm the main tweeter, no initials for me (Ryan) I know, it's elitist...

Today twitter, tomorrow... Loopt? Don't hold your breath

Monday, December 1, 2008

TDL Live This week: (12/1-12/8)

It's the Cyber Monday edition of TDL Live! After dealing with some site load issues (thanks Cyber Monday...) TDL Live was a hoot. No aluminum foil was harmed in making this episode:

Show Notes:
A coming of age for YouTube
YouTube has announced it will auction off search terms as part of an ad program, called Sponsored Videos, designed to enable anyone to expand the viewership of their videos. YouTube also said last week it obtained rights to post full-length movies produced by a large film studio, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. What this means is that YouTube has given up on the idea that user-generated content can be a successful standalone business.

Psystar case reveals Apple's shaky e-mail retention policy

According to a recent legal filing (see page 7) in the Psystar vs Apple antitrust case, Apple employees are responsible for maintaining their own documents such as emails, memos, and voicemails. In other words, there is no company-wide policy for archiving, saving, or deleting these documents.

This could pose a problem in the event of a lawsuit. In recent years, companies have been fined millions after failing to retrieve old emails and other files required as evidence.


Microsoft modifies Zune subscription model


the software company's modified subscription plan would allow owners of Zune to keep 10 tracks per month, which has an estimated value of $10. The users can also add those tracks to their permanent collection.

The company said agreements have been signed with the big four music labels -- EMI Music, Sony BMG Music Entertainment, Universal Music Group and Warner Music Group -- and also with a few independent distributors.

A Zune Pass would allow the user to download music and the downloaded content can be shared among up to three PCs and three Zune devices, the company said.($14.99/mo)


MacBooks slow down with battery removed


Apple's newer MacBook range continues to exhibit an unusual design behavior that slows the system down when the battery isn't attached, testing by Gearlog confirms. Although only publicized in a support article from August that predates the late 2008 refresh, the unibody systems deliberately throttle back the processorwhen relying only on AC power.


THE Black Friday Deals at Apple That Weren't


Simpsons Rag On Apple


Linux successfully ported to the iPhone, iPod touch


Devteam member planetbeing has successfully reverse-engineered the iPhone and iPod touch platforms torun the open-source Linux 2.6 kernel. The port is still in the beginning stages of development, with limited functionality that lacks support for the touchscreen, sound, accelerometer, baseband and wireless networking. When the device is powered-on, OpeniBoot gives the choice of booting the iPhone operating system or a separate mode for the Linux kernel.


Mac web share hits 8.9% while Firefox tops 20%


Net Applications has revealed both Apple and Mozilla bringing Microsoft's share of the web to historic lows for November. The Mac's usage share of the more than 40,000 websites tracked by the Internet firm has now reached 8.87 percent for the past month; the increase is a major jump from the previous record of 8.23 percent in September and is enough to have pushed Microsoft's Windows below 90 percent usage online for the first time in years.

Microsoft has also taken hits from rival web browsers. Usage of Mozilla's Firefox has topped 20 percent for the first time (up from 19.97 percent to 20.78 percent) and has been the largest single contributor to a decline in Internet Explorer share, which has again reached a years-long record low at just 69.77 percent of Net Applications' view of the web. The researchers attribute the spike partly due to the timing of special events like the US presidential election and to an extra number of days off helped by Thanksgiving, all of whom contributed to heavier web use.

Apple's Safari and Google's new Chrome browser have also supported the downfall of the Microsoft browser. Safari jumped from 6.57 percent in October to 7.13 percent in November while Chrome moved up slightly from 0.74 percent to 0.83 percent.


BlackBerry Storm Doesn't Blow Away Reviewers


New York Times technology columnist David Pogue tags the Storm as the "BlackBerry Dud", and is a bit miffed over the missing traditional QWERTY keyboard.
"It's like an iPod without a scroll wheel. A Prius with terrible mileage. Cracker Jack without a prize inside," Pogue seethed in his review last week.

Blockbuster (BBI) Looking For Streaming Partners To Go After Netflix, Apple
Like rival Netflix, Blockbuster (BBI) is hoping to build itsnew streaming service into as many living room gadgets as possible. Blockbuster CEO Jim Keyes,

Smart (if obvious) strategy, but Blockbuster is about a year behind Netflix (NFLX), which already has deals to build its streaming service into Samsung and LG Blu-ray players, Microsoft (MSFT) Xbox 360s, Roku Web video set-top boxes, and TiVo (TIVO) DVRs.

More iPhones sold to females in Australia
APPLE'S iPhone has surprised the tech set by finding more homes in handbags than suit pockets.
Australian mobile phone companies confirmed more women than men were buying Apple's fancy iPhone, with one source saying up to 70 per cent of iPhone sales were to females.


Apple offers free licensing for Mini DisplayPort spec


It turns out that the company is offering no-fee licenses to anyone interested in developing products that use the Mini DisplayPort specification.

Mini DisplayPort is an Apple-designed miniature version of the VESA-approved DisplayPort, which fully supports the protocol while offering a more compact connector.


Macworld Expo early bird registration extended


Registration for the upcoming Macworld Conference & Expo has been extended by one week, now ending on December 8, 2008.

The early bird registration gives attendees the opportunity to purchase their tickets early and save some money in the process. Prices vary from $25 for an Expo Only badge that gets you onto the show floor, to $1,695 for a Platinum Pass that grants you access to two Power Tools sessions, one Market Symposium, sessions in the Users Conference and MacIT Conference, access to feature presentations, keynote viewing, lunch, a party ticket and exhibit hall access, for $1,695.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Apple's Black Friday Sale Items Revealed

OK, I'll admit upfront, we don't know how much you could save on Apple products Friday, but we do have a good idea of what will be on sale. Go ahead and take a closer look at that Apple promo graphic ahead. Having worked at Apple, and also having observed these sales pics before, the answers are right there:

Items Expected To Be Discounted:
all iPods (except perhaps the shuffle)
iPhone Bluetooth Headset
Apple iPod Accessories
MobileMe (while not pictured, it's perpetually $30 off)

What You Should You Not Expect To Get a Deal On?
MacPro towers
MacBook Pro (chance of a discount)
Third-party products, with a few exceptions
The new Apple monitor

So while not written in stone, there's your quick guide to whether you need to brave the Apple store Friday morning. Happy Thanksgiving everyone, and don't forget we're back Monday with TDL Live at 9PM ET.

Also, if you plan on shopping Apple's sale from home, please consider using this link to help support TDL!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Apple Price Matching Not News

Considering we're the only major Apple blog created by former Apple retail employees, I figured we should set the record straight on reports of price matching at the Apple Retail stores.

1. Price Matching is Not New
Managers have always had some flexibility with judgement calls on price matches. Truth be told, you were far more likely to get a price match four or five years ago, when there was a slower pace to the stores, and CPUs made up a larger portion of the business. That said, generally price matching only applied to the system/Apple products. I remember a gentleman wanted to purchase $700 in iPod accessories once upon a time, and was shocked he couldn't get a discount. Let's face it, even though he had a high item count, $700 is small potatoes in Apple retail. Which brings me to:

2. Price Matching is Not The Same as Cutting a Deal
You should not expect now to get any more of a deal for being a frequent customer than ever before. Don't confuse someone else selling an item for less, with wishing Apple would sell you something for less.

3. Price Matching isn't the Same As Rebate Matching
Macmall, and other online businesses do a good job of offering Apple bundles: Perhaps a free printer, mouse, software, and case, all AFTER rebates. Don't expect Apple to match the after-rebate price.

4. Apple Can't Break The Law
I wouldn't expect Apple to do anything to the price to get it to equal a sales tax-free purchase. It might seem trivial, but I recall many times when people threatened to go to a tax-free store (in tax free Delaware) rather than buy from us due to tax. Apple is not the tax man, and they won't be cutting into their profits to even out the tax burden of buying in-store.

So while it's great to get a better deal, don't read too much into this retail "change." It's a bit of a non-story as price matching as always existed to some extent.

Hey Apple, The Netbook Train is Leaving the Station

On a trip to the local Costco earlier today, I saw quite a clamor. No, it wasn't just the checkout lines stretching back half the store (didn't anyone get the recession memo?) It was people of all ages checking out the HP 1000 Netbook. After waiting a bit to play with it, I've got to say, it's a solid computer - for what it is. I think 75% of the people playing with it may have thought they were using a full-blown laptop miniaturized, and for many of them, it may have been just that. If you intend to simply surf the internet, check email, and write some word documents, (which is still all many people need to do) then you may never notice the underpowered Atom processor.

Personally, it struck me as the ultimate blogging tool. The ability to throw something under 3 pounds into a bag and go, is impressive. If it had 3G wireless connectivity built-in, I may have even pulled the trigger. Are you listening, Apple? This is a product, actually a whole category of products, that are starting to gain mainstream traction, and there isn't an Apple-branded option to be found. The HP Netbook had a solid, but not MacBook Pro solid, feel. The fit and finish, again, not up to what you would expect from Apple, was still significant.

The days of selling an $1100 laptop as an entry level computer are over. Having 80% of the functionality in something at 40% of the cost, and 50% of the weight will appeal to many.

Apple's reluctance/delay in making a splash in this market category could be the biggest under-reported story to the company's future.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Attention Lost Fans: iTunes is Offering You a Time Machine

These are crazy times we're living in. You can now get someone a gift that doesn't even exist yet for the holidays. No doubt hoping to capitalize on the holiday season, iTunes is offering a Season Pass to Season Five of Lost, now, a full two months before the show begins to air. No, you won't get to see the episodes before everyone else. But you do get a free song ("You Found Me" by The Fray. Clever!). Who knows, by January, maybe you can purchase the inevitable spin-off!

Decibel for iPhone App Review

Sure games are great, but it's the other apps for the iPhone that show the range of the device. Decibel makes clever use of the iPhone microphone to transform it into a portable sound meter, with a cool retro look to boot. The major limitation isn't in the software, but rather the peak level (about 100dB) of the microphone. That cap limits the usefulness of Decibel, but for casually monitoring sounds in everyday situations, it works great:

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Root Access Visits The Video Game Expo (VGExpo)

Saturday Jamie and I checked out the VGExpo, or Video Game Expo in Philadelphia. Try as we might, we just couldn't find the Mac gaming section. We did get to see people dressed in some cool (and some not so cool) costumes, and we met some super-young Call of Duty players. Here's our take on the event, the state of gaming, etc.:

Part One:

Part Two:

Part Three:

A Quick Shout-Out

I just wanted to take a minute to thank the Marketing Club at Susquehanna Universityfor inviting me to speak at their meeting last Thursday night. It's always nice to visit my alma mater, and to share (and learn) the secrets of being successful with an online venture. I'm always happy to talk about TDL.

Friday, November 21, 2008

iPhone Software Update 2.2 Is Out

In case we're the first Apple blog stop for you today (and why not?), just a quick note that Apple has released iPhone software update 2.2. Most of the notable features involve improvements to the Maps application, including walking and pubic transit directions. Other changes include the ability to turn auto-correction on or off, and improved voicemail quality, although I don't notice any difference , although this portion of the update would probably apply to new voicemails only. Duh!

Apple has set up a page here with all the new info.

WooHoo for the iPhone and iPod Touch

It's Friday, so let's wrap up the week with a quick review of Woohoo. Love hearing something that kinda sorta sounds like the Pillbury Doughboy, along with a graphic that's clearly the Pillsbury Doughboy with the trademarks covered up? Well then, Woohoo is for you:

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Flick Sports Fishing iPhone and iPod Touch Review

It was only a matter of time before fishing made its way to the iPhone/iPod Touch. After all, the accelerometer and vibration/feedback from the phone lend themselves to simulating the casting and hooking of traditional fishing. Flick Sports Fishing uses both well, but it still feels like something's missing.

Players of Flick Fishing are limited by the game as to the direction and distance of their casts. However, the environments presented are each realistic, and sound great. Beyond the restrictions in casting, the game also tends to make hooking a fish too easy, as far more emphasis is placed on your ability to reel the fish in without breaking the line. Most of these issues could be addressed in a future update, so stay tuned:

Wednesday, November 19, 2008


Today Microsoft officially launched their New XBox Experience or NXE for short. This FREE update (are you paying attention Apple?) includes not only a reinvented GUI and a host of new community and game features, but also the much hyped addition of Netflix streaming. We have yet to try it out on our box, but from what we've seen so far it looks to be full of WIN. So for $300 you can now have a multimedia appliance that will play all the music, photos and videos stored on your PC or Mac as well as stream thousands of Netflix titles instantly, oh and it plays a few games too. We can't help but wonder if Apple TV will survive another year.

iTunes Offers $10 TV Seasons

Through iTunes, you can now get select (very select) TV seasons for less than $10. And you could even question how many full seasons are offered. Highlights include Tina Fey's Favorite Five 30 Rock Episodes, Fawlty Towers, Seasons 1 and 2 You can also get Matt & Trey's Top 10 South Park Episodes. Unfortunately, the pickings are slim, but hopefully we'll start to see more TV at this more reasonable price point soon. Click here for the rest of the $10 and under offerings.

Trace for iPhone and iPod Touch Review

The App Store games have started an arms war of sorts between developers looking to get the best graphics out of the new platform. Trace takes a different route. Similar in concept to Linerider online, Trace uses sparse graphics to add to the game, along with some fun sound, and addicting, but frustrating challenges. The object of the game is to move your player from a platform on one part of the screen to a goal in another part, avoiding obstacles along the way. You do this, by drawing lines on the screen with your finger. Some levels are quite easy, while others, I am completely convinced, are impossible:

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

iTunes Content Viewers Hit By DRM on VGA Displays

A report at Ars Technica details the story of a man trying to watch purchased content on a projector connected to a new MacBook via a DisplayPort to VGA adapter. Rather than seeing the movie, he was greeted by an error message stating the content could not be played back because the display was not authorized to play protected content.

This is simply inexcusable. It doesn't matter if it's Apple's doing, or the studio's. Back when Apple announced the DisplayPort connector, you may recall, we pointed out on TDL Live that the DisplayPort standard included HDCP (copyright protection) support.

At the time, no one knew how/if this would be implemented with iTunes content. Now it looks like we know.

I squarely blame Apple for this. Why? Because Apple is the only company big enough to stand up to the studios. There are plenty of ways, legal and illegal, to watch/acquire this content online without this hassle. Putting these types of restrictions on legally obtained content is beyond stupid, and can only serve to send people further into the dark torrent corners to look for content. The iTunes store was built on the belief that if you made paid content adequately easy to obtain, it would be a more attractive option than stealing. The worst part is, DVDs still represent the quickest, easiest way for people to rip movies and share them with others. People are not sitting around, grabbing the feed from their computer on its way to the TV to make illegal copies.

It is an unfair burden on the consumer, and a disappointment that Apple has not only played along, but aided this burden by incoporating and activating the DisplayPort HDCP. Ridiculous.

Math Tricks for iPhone and iPod Touch

There are a few things that are always handy to break the ice with new people. The value of a few magic tricks can't be overstated. It doesn't hurt to have a few tricks that make you look smart too. Enter Math Tricks. Math Tricks gives you the ability to amaze and astound others with some easy to remember math quirks. Presented in a fun, straightforward chalkboard theme Math Tricks is worth checking out:

TDL Live This week: (11/17-11/24)

We understand not everyone can watch TDL Live Monday nights at 9PM ET. So from time to time, we like to get you caught up on what you missed:

Also, straight from our secret vault, here are the show notes and links that made the show possible:

Apple to launch ‘aggressive’ Black Friday sale?
As Black Friday sales begin to leak on the Web, experts at Barclays Capital say they expect Apple to counter rival PC vendors’ promotions with a one-day sale more aggressive than usual, offering deep discounts on a number of Mac models.

Low cost notebooks top the list of the most heavily-discounted electronics items poised to dominate this year’s sales, with Dell planning to offer a $299 Linux model via its website


USB 3.0 full specs promise 10X speed boost

The USB 3.0 Promoter Group today revealed the full specifications for its namesake interface standard and so greenlit development of computer platforms and devices using the technology. The new peripheral format will now officially peak at 5Gbps, or about ten times faster than the 2.0 protocol. In actual tests, 25GB of data transfers in nearly 14 minutes over USB 2.0 but just 70 seconds over USB 3.0, significantly outpacing FireWire 800 as well as many hard drives.

FireWire isn't remaining static and should be upgraded to the S3200 standard ahead of USB 3.0 to provide about 3.2Gbps of bandwidth and similar power managementfeatures.


LEGO Indiana Jones for Mac slated for November 28th
The Mac edition ofLEGO Indiana Jones: The Original Adventures should be released on November 28th, conversion companyFeral Interactive has announced. The game is a port of a title already available for Windows and console systems,


Eric Wilfrid is the new MacBU GM at Microsoft

Eric is a 14-year veteran of Microsoft's Mac team, having most recently worked as Product Unit Manager of the MacBU Silicon Valley team, based in Mountain View, CA. In that role I managed a team of engineers in developing Office for Mac and other MacBU products.

Apple quietly discontinues the 23" Cinema Display
The discontinued status means that Apple is out of stock of the remaining new 23" Cinema Displays, and those waiting patiently to get their hands on the 24" LED Cinema Display have good reason to believe it should be coming any day now.


Apple set to release Mac OS X 10.5.6 soon
The release of Mac OS X 10.5.6 could be just around the corner. The update is slated to deliver wide-ranging fixes to Apple's operating system," Stephen Withers reports for iTWire.

"Developer notes accompanying various seed versions of Mac OS X 10.5.6 have been leaked by Portuguese-language web site hmbt.org. Those purportedly accompanying build 9G38 say there are no known issues with the update," Withers reports. "While that does not guarantee that 10.5.6 will arrive in the next few days, it is a sign that the project is not far from completion unless some significant problems are found in the latest changes."

iPhone: Has Google lost its voice?
John Markoff’s story in the New York Timesabout Google (GOOG) bringing voice activation to the iPhone, letting you search for everything from pictures of the Golden Gate Bridge to the length of a giant squid just by talking into your phone.
Google was under the impression that the application would be live on the App Store on Friday (obviously, since they pushed all significant press attention to it). Sometime Friday they found out Apple wouldn’t be pushing it, despite the fact that Google submitted it for review earlier in the week and got a thumbs up for Friday. One source says they’ve had little direct contact with Apple during the review, instead getting their updates via the standard iPhone developer tool, which has said “in review” for the last few days.


Obama faces BlackBerry and Apple laptop ban


His campaign embraced Web 2.0 technologies. He’s promised to appoint a ‘chief technical officer’ for the USA and will broadcast his weekly Address to the Nation via YouTube.

But from the date of his inauguration on January 20th 2008, if not beforehand, President-elect Barrack Obama will have to part with his beloved BlackBerry smartphone and maybe Apple laptop.

Concerns over email security and the need for all presidential correspondence to be entered into an official record, and eventually be open to public perusal, are expected to trump Obama’s own enthusiasm for technology.

It’s a tough break for the Geek-in-Chief, who according to The Telegraph’s list of ‘50 things you might not know about Barack Obama’ admits his ‘worst habit is constantly checking his BlackBerry’. ).


Apple flirting with another record quarter for Mac sales


fter spending 25 hours counting sales of iPhones and Macs at Apple's US-based retail chain, investment bank Piper Jaffray said it believes the company this quarter could meet or beat last quarter's record 2.6 million Mac sales total while again selling more than 6 million iPhones.

The firm's checks reveal the Cupertino-based company is selling an average of 28 iPhone 3Gs per day through each of its retail stores, down from 95 units per day in July, immediately following the handset's launch.

While those results would suggest a stark decline in quarterly sales, analyst Gene Munster said expanded international availability, the upcoming holiday shopping season, and the addition of Best Buy as an authorized iPhone reseller in US should combined to offset any slowdown in sales at the company's stores.


Flash and AIR coming to ARM, but not necessarily iPhone


At the Adobe 2008 MAX conference today, Adobe announced a partnership to bring Flash 10 and AIR to ARM processors that power, among many other devices, Apple's iPhones. While this marks some progress on answering complaints about poor Flash performance on the device, we don't think it's a good idea to start holding your breath for Flash (or especially AIR) on the iPhone. Yet, anyway.

As you probably remember, Flash hasn't had much luck in its quest for the iTunes App Store. While Adobe has practically begged Apple to allow one of its most profitable products onto the best-selling phone in the US, Steve Jobs ain't havin' it, publicly stating that Flash is too slow on the iPhone and Flash Lite is "not capable of being used with the web.

If you look at Adobe's news, it's really just an announcement of a forthcoming announcement, as Flash 10 and AIR won't arrive until the second half of 2009.

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