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Thekstategeek is new and improved. TECHTOIT.COM

January 29, 2011 Leave a comment

WE HAVE MOVED. Due to our unexpected success, we have changed domains and moved to a “big boy” server. If you reach this page via a search, or reference or anything really, then click the link below to take you to our new site – TECHTOIT.COM. New logo, new slogan, new look, new feel… it’s the real deal.

WOW THAT SOUNDS AWESOME! TAKE ME TO TECHTOIT.COM RIGHT NOW!

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iOS 4.3 will include photo-heavy features: FaceTime for iPad, PhotoBooth and PhotoStream service

January 21, 2011 Leave a comment

Apple’s developer release of iOS 4.3 Beta 2 has provided solid evidence that the iPad2 will have at least one camera. This release included a home page icons image that’s used in the wallpaper settings, showing the standard icons on your choice of wallpaper to preview how your choice will appear (any iPod Touch/iPhone/iPad user should be familiar with this). On the image provided, 3 new icons were discovered: FaceTime, Camera and PhotoBooth. The Camera app doesn’t necessarily discern whether there will be a front and back-facing camera set, but it implies there will be at least one on the device. FaceTime is by no means a surprise, but helps to cement the addition of a camera to the hardware, considering the use of FaceTime on the next-gen iPad has been discussed feverishly for the last few months.

PhotoBooth is a nice complement to the camera. I have been wishing for the inclusion of Apple photo editing software in one of the firmware upgrades for a while now, and am happy to see PhotoBooth ported from Mac OS X to their handheld series. For those of you unfamiliar with PhotoBooth, the primary feature that will be transferred to iOS is quoted [from their website] as:

The fun begins.

Sure, you can take regular photos, but the real fun starts when you use the cool effects and backdrops in Photo Booth. Snap a photo of yourself at the Eiffel Tower or in outer space. Twist and twirl your smile with the strange Twirl effect. Add an artistic look with the Colored Pencil effect. Experiment with all the effects to transform your look.

Many third-party developers have created their own renditions of photo editing apps for the App Store, but I feel as if PhotoBooth will be the perfect solution. (Then again, I loved iMovie, but it wasn’t received too terribly well.) The last chunk of the photo features rumored/confirmed to be arriving in iOS 4.3 lay in what has become known as PhotoStream. The following is speculation from 9to5Mac, written by Mark Gurman, and I felt it was incredibly interesting:

Hidden deep in the iOS 4.3 file system is a new folder titled “Media Stream.” Within that folder is some information about “Photo Streaming.” From the looks of different alerts and plists, it appears that Apple will let iPhone users set up “Photo Streams” that friends could “subscribe” to. Also, it looks like there will be some privacy preferences related to this, so you can choose who is allowed to view your “Streams.”

With Photo Streams, you will also be allowed to “invite” other users to view your pictures as you take them and upload them to a service. This service looks like it is connected to MobileMe, and we speculate that “Media Stream” can be directly connected to “Find my Friends.” We think Find my Friends will be another aspect of Apple’s social network, a part of a free MobileMe, where you can choose to view your friends’ “Photo Streams” all on that same map. Apple has a patent on something called iGroups relating to this. This would clearly tie into the Mac and iOS photo app’s Places feature. From looking at the SDK, it looks like “Media Stream” could very well also have a plugin counterpart, like AirPlay, in 3rd party apps.

From the actual operating system, not the SDK, we could only find references and graphics relating to the “Photo Stream” feature, not the “Media Stream” feature in general. We speculate that Apple is currently working on “Media Stream” and this is going to go way beyond photos in the future. We think Apple will expand this to music and videos, maybe like AirPlay between mobile iOS devices where you can watch or listen to your friends’ media and of course Apple will provide easy buy links to iTunes.

I actually hope that Mr. Gurman is correct in most of his theories. Sounds like a fantastic step forward out of Apple Nazi-dom and into a more people-friendly space. Besides, Facebook is good and all, but I would love to see Apple create a legitimate contender.

[Sources: TUAW, MacRumors, 9to5Mac, Apple]

YVC7MXC569AU (Technorati Verification Code)

One thing the Xbox should have, that it doesn’t

January 16, 2011 1 comment

The Xbox 360 is versatile. Wanna indulge in the guilty pleasures known as video games? Xbox has it. Wanna watch highlights from last night’s big game that you missed? Xbox has it. Wanna listen to your favorite band and related artists on internet radio? Xbox has it. Wanna video chat with your friend across the country? Xbox can do that. Wanna update your Facebook status or tweet something on Twitter? Xbox can do that. Wanna surf the internet? PS3 and Wii can do that. Wait a second, Microsoft’s game console can’t surf the internet?

Herein lies the issue. Microsoft was established on April 4 in 1975 as a computing company. Their operating system, Windows, has sold billions of copies over the years, amassing an incomprehensible amount of revenue. Their success has created four billionaires and 12,000 millionaires from within their employee pool. Within the last decade they have diversified, creating the Xbox and its successor the Xbox 360 as well as portable media player brand Zune and a mobile phone OS Windows Mobile/Windows Phone 7. Both the Zune and their mobile OS have internet browsing capabilities, but the Xbox does not. The biggest computer company on the planet has withheld the ability to surf the internet on their gaming console. Ironic.

Its not an issue of can or can not, for both of the Xbox’s competitors as well as hackers have been able to load internet browsers onto their game consoles. The Nintendo Wii’s computing power is weak in comparison to that of the Xbox 360, yet the console allows for fairly smooth navigation online. The PS3, however, is more powerful so it does not come as a surprise that it also has an internet browser. In addition to flexing its computing muscle, the Xbox has internet-enabled applications that are built into the OS. Netflix, ESPN, Twitter, Facebook and Last.fm are all accessible when you’re connected to the internet. Oh, and one more thing. Xbox LIVE. The online multiplayer gaming and digital media delivery service that requires the internet? The service that millions use on a daily basis to interact with each other. That too, is an internet-driven Microsoft force.

So why, Microsoft? Why, Xbox 360 team? We want an internet browser. We know you can, and that you should. I mean, come on, everyone else is doing it.

One thing the Xbox should have, that it doesn't

January 16, 2011 1 comment

The Xbox 360 is versatile. Wanna indulge in the guilty pleasures known as video games? Xbox has it. Wanna watch highlights from last night’s big game that you missed? Xbox has it. Wanna listen to your favorite band and related artists on internet radio? Xbox has it. Wanna video chat with your friend across the country? Xbox can do that. Wanna update your Facebook status or tweet something on Twitter? Xbox can do that. Wanna surf the internet? PS3 and Wii can do that. Wait a second, Microsoft’s game console can’t surf the internet?

Herein lies the issue. Microsoft was established on April 4 in 1975 as a computing company. Their operating system, Windows, has sold billions of copies over the years, amassing an incomprehensible amount of revenue. Their success has created four billionaires and 12,000 millionaires from within their employee pool. Within the last decade they have diversified, creating the Xbox and its successor the Xbox 360 as well as portable media player brand Zune and a mobile phone OS Windows Mobile/Windows Phone 7. Both the Zune and their mobile OS have internet browsing capabilities, but the Xbox does not. The biggest computer company on the planet has withheld the ability to surf the internet on their gaming console. Ironic.

Its not an issue of can or can not, for both of the Xbox’s competitors as well as hackers have been able to load internet browsers onto their game consoles. The Nintendo Wii’s computing power is weak in comparison to that of the Xbox 360, yet the console allows for fairly smooth navigation online. The PS3, however, is more powerful so it does not come as a surprise that it also has an internet browser. In addition to flexing its computing muscle, the Xbox has internet-enabled applications that are built into the OS. Netflix, ESPN, Twitter, Facebook and Last.fm are all accessible when you’re connected to the internet. Oh, and one more thing. Xbox LIVE. The online multiplayer gaming and digital media delivery service that requires the internet? The service that millions use on a daily basis to interact with each other. That too, is an internet-driven Microsoft force.

So why, Microsoft? Why, Xbox 360 team? We want an internet browser. We know you can, and that you should. I mean, come on, everyone else is doing it.

Two words – Facebook phone

January 12, 2011 Leave a comment

Rumors and speculation have gone dormant since September in regards to the Facebook phone but Android Community stirred things up again yesterday. The Bluetooth Special Interest Group submission dubbed the INQ Cloud Touch may just be the fabled Facebook phone that everyone has been waiting for. Why have we come to that conclusion? The following description was included with the listing:

INQ Cloud Touch is an Android smartphone built to make messaging faster and smarter. It’s designed around the way people naturally communicate and has Facebook built into its core. The homescreen features multiple entry points to different Facebook functions, while a dynamic widget displays a feed of status updates, albums, videos and photos.

Well, wait. Didn’t you know that Facebook was planning on creating a phone? TechCrunch’s Michael Arrington wrote on September 11, 2010 –

Facebook is building a mobile phone, says a source who has knowledge of the project. Or rather, they’re building the software for the phone and working with a third party to actually build the hardware. Which is exactly what Apple and everyone else does, too.

So what does Facebook have to say about this “source who has knowledge of the project”? Well they denied the fact that they were actually making the phone, because they are not. Neither did Apple or Google (they don’t really put screwdrivers to screws on the production line do they?). CNET informs us that:

Facebook happily admits that it is working on deep integration with other hardware and software. Zuckerberg has since told TechCrunch that a social experience has to be built “from the ground up”, rather than bodging a social layer on to existing products — a la Google — which suggests Facebook wants to be part of the foundation of a device, rather than an app slapped on at the end.

Since CNET’s in-depth analysis of what they think of the Facebook phone on September 23, 2010, it has been all quiet on the Western front (was unsure if I should capitalize that reference)… until yesterday. Bloomberg has announced that the folks at Zuckerburg studios are working on two Facebook smartphones and that the INQ devices (Cloud Touch does fall in line with those) will be released in Europe during the first half of 2011.

Top 10 iPhone Apps for College Students

January 3, 2011 Leave a comment

This is the first in what will be a series of app lists exclusively for select groups of people called Appsessed. If you want me to generate a list based on one of your interests, hobbies or careers, contact me and I’ll see what I can do.

Yes that’s a toga party above, the epitome of the college scene.

I, being a college student myself, as well as a self proclaimed app connoisseur, searched and searched for a list of apps that would help me in my position. Unfortunately Google could not help me in the search for such a list and so I decided to help everyone after me who has once inquired the same. So after many unnecessary dollars spent and an hour or two of free time consumed, I have put together a list of the top 10 iPhone apps for college students (and lucky for you, half of it is free!):

1. Wolfram Alpha $1.99 – This little godsend has helped me on many math assignments. It’s simple user interface could be navigated by my 11 year-old sister, but the application is powerful enough to show me step-by-step how to solve my Calculus problems.

2. Facebook Free Social networking is everything these days and college is no different. Take a break from using Wolfram Alpha for a bit and find out where the [safe and perfectly legal] party is at.

3. iLoader $1.99 – Many exciting things happen in college and with the 5 megapixel camera on the back of the iPhone 4, its easy to capture those moments (not to mention its HD video recording capabilities). With iLoader, you can easily upload multiple photos and videos to your Facebook profile in minutes.

4. StudyBlue Free The StudyBlue app is integrated with the “cloud”-like, online, user-generated study materials uploaded to http://www.studyblue.com. The StudyBlue app does require you to have an account on their website, but its free. Now you can study on the toilet, in the locker room and any other ridiculous places that you can think of.

5. Flashcards Deluxe $3.99 – Sometimes they are things that have to be studied using flashcards instead of note sheets and for this there is Flashcards Deluxe. You can create your own deck of cards on the device, via notepad on your computer or simply download a deck created by someone else in the same class. The $4 was worth the A I got in my entomology identification class due to using this program religiously.

6. Around Me Free When your stomach is grumbling at 2 AM after whatever mischief you’ve been up to around campus, open up this free app and find something that sounds good. The best part? You can input how far you are willing to go for late night cuisine. Or how about if you are on the road to see your buddy at his school in the next state over, but need gas and don’t see a gas station anywhere around? Around Me can help you with that as well.

7. Pandora Free Music soothes the soul, and around finals week your soul will need lots of soothing. So while you are laying on the couch in the lobby or reading up on Scandinavian war ships in the 1700s in the library, open up Pandora and allow the program to create the perfect playlist for your mood. All you have to do is pick what band or song you want to begin with and Pandora will do the rest for you.

8. Dictionary.com FreeWhile reading up on those Scandinavian war ships, you come across a handful of words that you have never heard before. Instead of skipping over them and risk losing grip on complicated concepts, get a leg up on your crazy topic. Know what you’re reading. I use dictionary.com when writing in particular to make sure I don’t just fabricate words.

9. Checkbooks $1.99 – This handy application helps you keep track of your money. As a student in college, we are all about being frugal and if you aren’t, you should be! But with this program you keep track of all transactions, checks, withdrawals and deposits on multiple bank accounts from within the same interface so that you can keep track of those late night food runs.

10. W&Y Pages FreeAlthough the Maps application that comes preloaded on the phone allows you to access the address and phone number of certain businesses that you inquire about, this gives a simpler interface for finding that information. In addition to commercial phone numbers, the W&Y app includes residential listings.

Thus concludes my list of essential apps for college students. Keep in mind that these apps are not iPhone exclusive, and can also be accessed on both the iPod Touch and the iPad (mind you, that to include these as well would have made the title a bit cluttered). Enjoy!