Strange Rain is pretty hard to describe without actually playing with it, but we'll give it a shot. The primary function of the app is to give you a break from your hectic life by displaying a mesmerizing scene of rain falling from the sky. The iPhone screen acts as a skylight, so you're looking straight up as rain drops fall and hit the screen. You can slightly affect the raindrops as they fall by touching the screen and moving your iPhone, and tinkly music from a haunting melody plays amid soothing storm sounds, every time you touch … Read more
It's almost considered certain among fanboys that Apple's next iPad--which so far we're imaginatively calling the iPad 2--will come out in the next couple of months. It might be as early as April, as it was April of last year that saw the launch of the original iPad, which now has 87 percent of tablet market share.
Because the supposed unveiling is so close--some say within the next few weeks--the gossip mongers are in overdrive trying to find out what it will and won't have. And the latest rumor, which we spotted on Mac Rumors, … Read more
LAS VEGAS--Soon you'll be able to make your BlackArmor NAS server even tougher.
Seagate today showed off at CES 2011 a new storage package that the company says offers the ultimate in data security. It combines the flagship BlackArmor 440 NAS server, which offers RAID 5 and up to 12GB of storage space, with an IoSafe SoloPro disaster-proof external hard drive, which is used as a backup drive for the BlackArmor server.
The external hard drive is branded with the Seagate logo and called a fireproof/waterproof BlackArmor external hard drive. This is similar to how the company has … Read more
LAS VEGAS--How often does a journalist fire a real gun in the line of duty? Let me tell you, not often. But that's just what I did today. And no, I wasn't taking an anger management class.
It was just another demo by IoSafe, maker of disaster-proof storage solutions like the IoSafe SoloPro. These are extreme types of devices and, it seems, their maker believes they deserve some over-the-top demonstrations.
For that reason, it's now somewhat of a tradition that IoSafe stages grandiose product demos during CES. The company did a crazy fire and water demo during CES 2009 for the IoSafe Solo and an even crazier one during CES 2010, which included a 35,000-pound excavator, for the Solo SSD.
This year, the demo of the IoSafe Rugged Portable, while smaller in scale, was much louder, literally. It involved firing live rounds to prove just how rugged the Rugged Portable is.
According to Robb Moore, CEO of IoSafe, the Rugged Portable isn't designed to be bulletproof but just to withstand a significant amount of impact. "There are types of bullets that can go through any electronic devices we make," he says. "I believe, however, the Rugged Portable can survive multiple rounds of shotgun. Still, I keep my fingers crossed."… Read more
Links from Friday's episode of Loaded:
Facebook suffered a brief outage yesterday but came back up with new photo features
Apple announces that the Mac Store with apps for Macs will launch on January 6
Yahoo layoffs will apparently result in the shutting down of several Yahoo services
The European Union is deepening its investigation into anti-competitive practices by Google
New Google Maps for Mobile on Android comes with 3D and allows for offline directions
An update to Hotmail lets you surf certain Web sites right inside your e-mail
In items like camera memory cards, flash memory is a ho-hum commodity. But when it comes to building flash directly into a computer, the disruption is probably just beginning.
That's why I find Fusion-io an intriguing company.
Fusion-io builds flash memory onto PCI Express cards that plug into server expansion slots, letting customers move beyond hard drives' physical enclosures and SATA interface. That means data can be written and read faster overall, in part because SATA has worse overhead--in other words, bandwidth that must be used to run the communication protocol rather than for the actual data being read or written.
The Salt Lake City start-up isn't the only PCIe storage maker in the market--Texas Memory Solutions' RamSan-10 and the RamSan-20 and OCZ Technology's Z-Drive products are competitors. But Fusion-io has clout: in addition to sales partnerships with IBM, Dell, and Hewlett-Packard, and more than 50 patent applications filed, it's got an investment from flash memory maker Samsung.
Flash crashes the party For all the change in the computer industry, it's actually pretty rare that a hardware difference comes along that actually is more than an evolutionary tweak to the existing setup.
Flash memory, which has displaced the hard drive in corners of the market such as iPods and high-end laptops and has the potential to do so elsewhere, is one of those changes. It combines the world of conventional computer memory--dynamic random access memory, or DRAM--with the world of hard drives.
DRAM needs a constant supply of electrical power to remember its data, but it can read and write data quickly; hard drives store data even when the power is switched off, and can store much larger amounts of data, but they're relatively slow. Intermediate between the two is flash memory, in terms of data transfer speeds and cost per gigabyte, and like a hard drive it can store data when the computer is switched off.
The first large-scale arrival of flash memory in computers took the form of solid-state drives, or SSDs. They packed flash memory into the type of enclosure that in the past housed a hard drive, and they communicated with the rest of the computer system with the standard hard drive interface, called SATA. Advatages of SSDs include faster data transfer, better ruggedness because of the absence of moving parts, and lower power consumption because the physical platters of hard drives don't need to be rotated all the time. … Read more
Perhaps peculiarly, Apple removed AirPrint from the public release of Mac OS X 10.6.5, an update largely expected to allow iOS 4.2 devices, such as the iPad, to print to shared network printers.
AppleInsider reports that users experimenting with various settings in Mac OS X 10.6.5 have discovered a way to bring the iOS AirPrint function back to your Mac. AirPrint uses CUPS technology, an open source Unix-friendly printing architecture, owned and maintained by Apple.
The CUPS filter used to convert the AirPrint URF format into PDF format for printing was the component removed from … Read more
For something that seems very rudimentary in a world of iPhone apps and fancy smartphone operating systems, text-messaging services were getting a whole lot of love at October's edition of the monthly New York Tech Meetup.
Along with about a dozen other start-ups eager to pitch the audience of potential partners, investors, and advisers, two back-to-back presentations from new companies called GroupMe and Fast Society showed off different takes on the same basic concept of group text messaging.
They have extremely similar premises. Both GroupMe and Fast Society require a single user with an iPhone (or also, in GroupMe'… Read more
Facebook has acquired most of the assets of Drop.io, a New York-based start-up that lets users privately and sporadically share files through a drag-and-drop interface with additional options like phone calls and even faxing, the company announced Friday on its blog.
Founder Sam Lessin will be joining Facebook full time. Drop.io's service, meanwhile, will be shutting down, making this yet another "acqui-hire" on Facebook's behalf--buy a start-up primarily for its founder, and put that new hire to work developing a new feature at Facebook or improving an old one.
"In the coming weeks, … Read more
If you have a Mac and an iPhone 4, this trick is for you. iOS currently provides no way to tell if the photos you've taken were from the front camera or the rear camera on your iPhone 4. Using iPhoto Smart Albums, you easily keep them organized.
This hint is fairly basic, but you will need a Mac running iPhoto '09 and an iPhone 4 running iOS 4.1. For those of us who use both of the iPhone 4's cameras prolifically, this hint is an easy way to sort your photos based on which camera you … Read more