Archive for October, 2010

Plants vs. Zombies Goes On Sale for the First Time Ever

Between celebrating Bejeweled’s ten year anniversary, the release of Peggle Nights, and all that Michael Jackson hoopla, we’ve been hearing quite a bit about PopCap. Well, now the usually quite game giant is pulling out all the stops. PopCap’s fastest selling iOS game, Plants vs. Zombies, has gone on sale for the first time since it was released in February. The reason? It’s Haloween!


Most iOS gamers will have downloaded Plants vs. Zombies and beat it several times by now, but anyone who hasn’t will certainly want to pick it up. If you’ve been living under a rock or just don’t keep up on your iOS gaming news, PvZ is a cheeky tower defense game with insanely colorful graphics in which you plant plants to fight off waves of zombies as they try and eat your brainz (sic).

PvZ help

There’s an iPhone and iPad version, with a select few features on each, so you should probably just get both versions. Both have had price drops of 50%; Plants vs. Zombies for iPhone is sitting pretty at .99 cents, and the HD version only costs .99. But hurry–Plants vs. Zombies bumps back up to its spooky full-price after Halloween.



Want a $999 MacBook Air? Be Prepared to Wait

MacBook Air ship times
(Image courtesy of AppleInsider)

Barely a week old, and already Apple’s entry-level 9 11.6-inch MacBook Air ship times are slipping. The reviews have been great and the diminutive laptop is in demand, but can Apple keep up with the sales?

AppleInsider is reporting
that new orders for Apple’s 9 11.6-inch MacBook Air on the company’s website have slipped to “one to three business days,” which seems to indicate that the tiny laptop is in high demand for the first week since its October 20 debut.

Meanwhile, other versions of the new MacBook Air — including the more expensive 128GB version of the 11.6-inch model — show shipping times “within 24 hours.” The base model holds only 64GB of storage — equal to the highest-capacity iPod touch or iPad — but at 9, Apple appears to have hit the “sweet spot” as far as price, quality and form factor.

Only last week, at least one analyst predicted that all four new models of the MacBook Air would sell upwards of 700,000 units this holiday season, which would make up 17 percent of an estimated 4.1 million Macs shipped in the last quarter of this calendar year.

Mingchi Kuo with Concord Securities also predicted that the 9 base model will make up 60 percent of new MacBook Air sales — which would seem to be backed up by the longer ship time on Apple’s own web store.

One thing’s for sure: If you want an 11.6-inch MacBook Air for only 9, buy sooner rather than later — we’re guessing ship times may get even later as the holiday season gets into full swing.

Follow this article’s author, J.R. Bookwalter on Twitter


No White iPhones Till Spring 2011 According To Apple


(Image courtesy of CBS News)

So if you were hoping to get that special someone a white iPhone 4 for the holidays, unfortunately you’ll be a bit disappointed.  A new report has Apple saying that the white iPhone 4 may not be making an appearance until next spring, according to All Things Digital.

It was reported earlier that the the iPhone that always manages to allude us was part of an update to the Apple Store app.  But an Apple spokesperson dispelled any rumors.  “We’re sorry to disappoint customers waiting for the white iPhone yet again, but we’ve decided to delay its release until this spring.”

Originally the white iPhone 4 was to debut later this year, but now it would appear that won’t be the case.  The reason for the newest delay is currently unknown. 

Follow this article’s author, Matthew Tilmann on Twitter



NHL GameCenter Live Coming Soon To an iPad Near You


(Image courtesy of

Granted the sporting world may be focused on the start of the upcoming World Series, or an NFL season that’s in full swing, but the NHL season is also underway. With that, iPad puck fans can look forward in the near future to being able to watch live games on their devices.  The NHL had also been one of the first pro sports leagues to optimize their site for the iPad.

Perry Cooper, senior VP of digital media for the NHL spoke with Multichannel News saying that the league’s young, affluent fanbase are poised to take full advantage of its mobile web offerings.  According to Scarborough Research, NHL fans are more likely to own smartphones than fans of any other major professional sport.

“It really serves every aspect and segment of our fan and it allows us the opportunity to upgrade and matriculate people to a more robust experience,” Cooper said.

The league currently maintains three NHL GameCenter apps – which can vary anywhere from free options to subscriptions – and can allow fans the chance to stream live games, view in-game highlights and get access to other NHL content on devices like the BlackBerry, iPhone/iPod touch and Nokia handsets, and the iPad.

The free portion provides live scores; live in-game stats for each team and player; a full-season schedule; standings, player profiles, archived results and stats for the current season, searchable content and a personalized experience.

If you’re thirsting for something a bit more, NHL GameCenter Premium is available on the iPad for .95, which offers up video highlights, condensed games and live game audio in addition to everything found in the free edition.  Unfortunately, NHL GameCenter Live is only available in the U.S. for Verizon Wireless users, due to contractual obligations that the league has.  That version allows users to stream live video of games.  Perhaps iPhone users won’t be out in the cold if we ever see that Verizon version, hmmm?

But just the same, according to league officials, GameCenter Live is going to be due out later this year for the iPad!  Presumably it will come at a cost, but if you live out of the state of your favorite team, it could certainly be worth it!

Follow this article’s author, Matthew Tilmann on Twitter



The Little Emulator That Could: The Rise and Fall of iDOS

iDOS emulator app
(Image courtesy of touchArcade)

It’s a sadly familiar tale: A cool app gets approved into Apple’s App Store and less than 24 hours, it’s gone — the victim of a mysterious approval that probably should never have been. Such is the case with iDOS, an emulator app that plenty of folks were having fun with, right up until Apple yanked the rug out from under the rest of us.

touchArcade is reporting on iDOS, a nifty little 99-cent open source DOS emulator that hit the App Store on Monday night, only to be yanked from sale Tuesday afternoon. Based on DOSbox, the emulator was a universal app with PC keyboard support, mouse support and multiple screen modes — and an awful lot of folks were having fun with it before Apple decided to rain on the parade.

iDOS wasn’t the first emulator to make it into the App Store — a licensed Commodore 64 actually managed to survive Apple’s approval process and has remained for sale for quite some time. iDOS was unique because of its capability to emulate not only old DOS games but even Windows 3.0 and old Sierra adventure games such as Freddy Farkas: Frontier Pharmacist.

Sadly, the fun is over as of Tuesday afternoon, but a free version of the same emulator is now available via Cydia for jailbroken device users. It’s called DOSPad and touchArcade has posted a link with instructions on how to get and use it.

Here’s hoping that perhaps Apple will see the error of their ways and get iDOS back in the App Store — after all, they’ve been on quite a streak lately with previously forbidden apps such as GV Mobile and media players such as VLC which allow playback of just about anything you can throw into it.

Follow this article’s author, J.R. Bookwalter on Twitter


Apple to Offer App for Customer Appointment Check-ins at Apple Stores

If you’ve ever made an appointment for the Genius Bar (or other service) at your local Apple Store, then you know how easy it can be to sign up; however, things can get a little hectic when you actually arrive to the store. A new app for employees, coupled with an update for the Apple Store application, however, could change this.

According to AppleInsider, Apple just put into place on Monday an application for employees that allows them to see currently checked in customers waiting for appointments. The application will also send push notifications to an employee iOS device that will alert them to customers that just checked into the store.

The blog also notes that Apple will be updating its Apple Store application to send push notifications to any customer entering a store to alert them to check in to any appointment they may have. When a customer checks in, they will get a message along with a picture of the employee that will assist them.

While the article is relatively thin on details, the blog does mention that Apple may roll out this feature “soon.”

You can read more about this story and see more screenshots on the AppleInsider website.


Follow this article’s author, Cory Bohon on Twitter.




Amazon Adds Windowshop iPad App to iOS Portfolio

Amazon Windowshop apparently loves them some iOS, offering up free universal apps for both Amazon Mobile and Kindle. Now the world’s biggest online store has added a new iPad-specific app that brings a whole new shopping experience.

On Tuesday, introduced their new Amazon Windowshop, an iPad-specific app that promises “a top to bottom rewrite of — designed and built without compromise.” The company has long offered their free Amazon Mobile app, which is universal to work great on any iOS device.

Amazon Windowshop is also free, but unique to the iPad, featuring “a completely new, fluid interface designed specifically for lean-back, touchscreen tablets.” While there was certainly nothing wrong with the existing Amazon Mobile app on the iPad, the new app will certainly be welcome to frequent shoppers, especially with the holiday season fast approaching.

“With the flick of a finger you will be able to visually browse across many best selling product categories,” the app description reads. “Windowshop invites you to discover and browse products within popular lists like Featured, Bestsellers, Recommendations, New Releases, Most Wished For, Most Gifted, and Movers & Shakers.”

Windowshop promises to bring more of to the iPad, and once you’ve found something you think others might enjoy, you can even share it via e-mail, Facebook or Twitter. Amazon Prime members can easily discover which products qualify for free two-day shipping, and much more.

Amazon Windowship is a free 2.1MB download, available now from the App Store. The app is compatible only with the iPad and requires iOS 3.2 or later.

Follow this article’s author, J.R. Bookwalter on Twitter


DonorsChoose 2010: Week 4. Win a fabulous on-the-go prize pack!

You guys are amazing! We have raised ,633 through right now. That’s 1,753 students affected in all those classrooms. And I’m just blown away by your generosity and general awesomeness.

But you know who else is blown away, or about to be? All of us, by those PC-using weirdos over at MaximumPC. Yep, they’re still ahead of us on the leaderboard, by just under 0, with ,724 as of right now.

This is the final week of our 2010 DonorsChoose Challenge, so let’s step it up and outgive Maximum PC’s readers, OK? Mac! Life! Mac! Life! Mac! Life! (Sorry, I’ve always been a sucker for a really good chant.)

To sweeten the pot I’ve got a really great prize pack to give away. But before we talk about what’s in it for you, how about hearing from the teachers whose projects we’ve been busily funding all month long. Our Giving Page currently has 33 completed projects that we and other donors knocked out of the park, and some of the thank-you notes from the teachers are beyond touching.

Ms. B, who teaches at an elementary school in North Carolina that’s getting new LEGOs, writes, “Our students have so much potential that needs to be tapped. Your donation to these children will give them the tools to practice expressing their own creative spirits in a safe and cooperative environment.” And they’ll have fun doing it, too!

Ms. L, from an elementary school in Upper Michigan, got a new Mac mini for her classroom, with lots of help from us. She writes, “Many of my students are looking for new connection with reading. Being able to listen to themselves and their classmates read, to edit and produce book commercials, and to take pride in their literacy is going to change their lives.”

See, you guys are changing lives!!!

So how about a little more? Give to a project on our Giving Page this week, and forward me your email receipt to susie at by Saturday October 30 at 11:59pm Pacific, and I’ll enter you in this week’s drawing. The prize pack is huge and awesome, like the kind and generous hearts of our donors.

>> Scosche IDR655m earphones with tapLINE II controller (for controlling your iPhone, iPod touch, and the other iPods). I’m reviewing these now and (spoiler alert) I love them. You get a brand-new pair, though. Because sharing earbuds is gross. .99 retail value.
>> iDapt i4 Universal charger, which can keep your phone, iPod, camera, and other gadgets charged, up to four at a time. This iDapt is pink, too. Fabulous! .99 retail value.
>> iMainGo 2, a speaker-equipped carrying case for your iPod, iPhone, or other MP3 player. (The box says Zune, but we’re not familiar with that term.) .95 value.
>> AViiQ portable laptop stand. This is the world’s thinnest laptop stand, folding down to an astonishing 1/4 inch thick for easy portability. Improves your ergonomics and it’s good looking too. .95 retail value.
>> The Ballistic HC case for iPhone 4. This thing is hardcore, total protection, keeping your iPhone safe from almost everything except flamethrowers and X-Men. .99 retail value.

One person will get alllll this. And it could be you if you donate and enter.

All in all that’s a prize bonanza worth 9.87. We’d like to thank our friends at Scosche, Ballistic, iDapt, iMainGo, and AViiQ for donating the prizes. Enter today! Official rules in the FAQ, and feel free to email me if you have questions.

Oh yes, and big congratulations to last week’s winners! We’re sending game packs from Aspyr to Rachel F., Stephen D., and Patrick N., plus bonus prizes to a whole bunch of other nice people. Watch your mailboxes for gratitude and free stuff!

It’s the last week of October. We’ve got more kids to help. Let’s do this.


Apple Joins Forces With Google Versus Paul Allen


(Image courtesy of

Enjoy this combination of tech giants while it lasts!  Apple has joined up with Google, Facebook, and Yahoo among others.  The cause?  Trying to take down Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen’s patent infringement suit brought about last August.

If you’ll turn back the page a bit, we brought it to you that a Paul Allen-owned firm had originally claimed in a federal lawsuit that 11 companies, including the likes of Apple, Google, YouTube, Facebook, AOL and Yahoo, had all infringed upon four patents that had been awarded more than ten years ago.

One of the patents that had been described was a “news browser,” and another referred to technology that had alerted users of Web content that was related to whatever it was that they were currently viewing.

The patents had been issued between 2000 and 2004 to Internal Research, which was an Allen-funded Silicon Valley lab that closed for business in 2000.  Said patents were then transferred over to Interval Licensing, which Allen also runs.

Google got the counterattack ball rolling on October 18 as it filed a motion to dismiss the claims.  That motion made the assertion that Interval did not show exactly how Google had made the infringement, and it did not name any of the technologies that were used by or the services that were offered by Google that had violated the patents.

“Interval is not entitled to waste Court and party resources with a scattershot Complaint against multiple Defendants that fails to give any indication as to which products or services Interval contends are infringing and the factual basis for such a claim,” said Google.

“Interval’s Complaint is devoid of any facts to support its infringement contentions that it is impossible for Google to reasonably prepare a defense,” Google went on.

Apple then joined in on October 21st with a filing of their own.

“Interval has sued eleven major corporations and made the same bald assertions that each defendant infringes 197 claims in four patents,” Apple said.  “As the U.S. Supreme Court noted in Twombly, it is in this type of situation in which courts should use their ‘power to insist upon some specificity in pleading before allowing a potentially massive factual controversy to proceed.'”

The suit is seeking unspecified damages, including injunctions that would prevent the accused corporations from continuing on to use the said patented technologies.

Whether the suit gets tossed or not, it’s certainly something to keep your eyes peeled on!

via Computerworld

Follow this article’s author, Matthew Tilmann on Twitter



Adobe Unveils Digital Publishing Solution

With traditional print publishing suffering the slings and arrows of internet-aided content delivery these past few years, magazine, book and newspaper publishers have been struggling to find an efficient, cost-effective method to transfer their wares into the digital realm. In answer to the publishing industry’s frantic calls for help, Adobe has announced their latest offering: The Adobe Digital Publishing Solution. It’s a solution which Adobe hopes will not only revolutionize how publishers create and deliver their content, but also how that content is consumed.

According to Adobe:

The Adobe Digital Publishing Solution consists of digital publishing applications, software technologies, and service solutions that allow publishers to cost-effectively author, produce, and distribute groundbreaking content to the broadest possible audience on a wide variety of digital devices. With this solution, Adobe is helping publishers and advertisers revolutionize how they create and deliver digital content, and how their audiences consume it.

That’s fancy advertising talk that, when translated, means that through the use of Adobe’s industry-standard Creative Suite applications, a web-based client and a number of digital distribution points such as the iTunes App Store or Google Market, publishers can produce print, internet and application-based versions of their magazines, books or newspapers for a minimal cost. Publishers can expect to pay 9 per month for the privileged of using Adobe’s solution, as well as a premium of 20-30 cents on every copy of a publication sold. That’s a pretty reasonable price point, when it comes right down to it. For those of you interested in taking a peek at what readers can expect to see insofar as format and user interface are concerned, you needed look any further than Wired Magazine, which is currently available for download from the iTunes App Store.

The Adobe Digital Publishing Solution will be available to all comers during the second quarter of 2011.


Follow this article’s author, Seamus Bellamy on Twitter.