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Lightroom 4.4 brings Nikon D7100 support, Fujifilm fixes

Τετ, 03/04/2013 - 11:28

Adobe Systems' Lightroom offers tools to catalog and edit photos, especially those taken using higher-end cameras' higher-quality raw photo formats.

(Credit: screenshot by Stephen Shankland/CNET)

Adobe Systems has released Lightroom 4.4 with support for two mainstream SLRs, Nikon's new D7100 and Canon's Rebel SL1, and with better image quality for a Fujifilm cameras with unusual sensors.

Lightroom is designed for editing and cataloging photos, especially those shot in cameras' proprietary raw image formats that offer higher quality but impose an image-processing burden on photographers. Adobe periodically updates the software to support new cameras -- and in the case of version 4.4 to fix problems with existing cameras such as the Fujifilm models.

Fujifilm's X-Trans and EXR sensors each vary from the standard image-sensor approach to capturing color information. Most sensors use a checkerboard pattern called a Bayer array to determine whether each pixel on the sensor captures red, blue, or green color data. Fujifilm uses different arrangements and processing in an attempt to o... [Read more]

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IE11, Windows Blue could support Google's SPDY protocol

Τρι, 02/04/2013 - 21:58

Another tantalizing tidbit has emerged from last month's leaked IE11 build: the possibility that the next version of Internet Explorer could support Google's SPDY technology for faster browser-server communications.

It's not working yet, but SPDY "is being implemented," said Rafael Rivera of the Within Windows blog. Paul Thurrot of WinSuperSite also said SPDY is coming.

The SPDY support is at the operating system level, meaning that other software besides just IE11 could take advantage of it, Rivera said.

Microsoft declined to comment on the matter.

Google has rounded up several allies to standardize SPDY technology, which streamlines the HTTP technology governing how browsers request Web pages and how Web servers deliver them. But despite broadening support, including in Firefox and Amazon's Silk browser, Microsoft preferred its alternative approach called HTTP Speed+Mobility.

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New Firefox expands 'porn-mode' abilities

Τρι, 02/04/2013 - 18:32

Firefox's getUserMedia test page.

(Credit: Mozilla)

Along with an update to the infamous "porn mode" that turns off your browser's ability to record your browsing session, the new Firefox 20 includes usability and back-end changes.

Firefox 20 (download for Windows | Mac | Linux) updates now allow you to run a private browsing session in a new window, alongside a standard Firefox browsing window. On Firefox 20 for Android (download), the browser now lets you run private mode tabs next to standard session tabs.

Private browsing on Firefox is analogous to Internet Explorer's InPrivate or Chrome's Incognito. It's a feature that turns off all the browser's session recording features, including cookies, history, and temporary files.

Another helpful update will ask if you'd like to restart plug-ins that have been frozen for more than 45 seconds.

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Google hitches Opus audio technology to WebRTC star

Τρι, 02/04/2013 - 17:57

Chrome 27, making its way through the development pipeline, is helping to advance the fortunes of a new audio compression technology called Opus.

Opus is what's called a codec -- a technology to encode and decode streams of information, in this case audio. Technically, it's actually two codecs in one, an approach that lets it span a range of uses from Internet telephony on slow networks to streaming high-quality music on fast networks.

One of its chief virtues is low latency: there's not a long wait for audio to be encoded or decoded, something that's not a big problem with streaming music but can cripple a real-time conversation. Another advantage from a programmer's perspective is that unlike MP3 and AAC audio codecs, it's available royalty-free.

Google is among Opus' fans, and last week, it enabled the use of Opus by default in Chrome when establishing connections with the nascent WebRTC standard for browser-based voice and video chats. The change is in effect for Chrome 27, which is in the developer channel now, headed toward the beta and then the stable releases.

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Feedly mobile apps add better search and more features

Δευ, 01/04/2013 - 18:01
(Credit: Screenshot by Jaymar Cabebe/CNET)

Wasting no time after the death of Google Reader was announced, multiplatform RSS solution Feedly has already updated its mobile apps, not only with new features, but also with some new power under the hood.

With a new search-and-discovery engine running, finding feeds from around the Web is noticeably faster. The search bar even immediately tries to autocomplete what you type, to help you more quickly discover topics and sites. According to Feedly, the new search algorithm leverages millions of interactions from other users, which means the tool will even get better over time.

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Now, as you're sifting through your RSS subscriptions,... [Read more]

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Facebook to put own spin on Android with 'new home,' report says

Δευ, 01/04/2013 - 17:03
(Credit: Facebook)

A Facebook media event invitation the company released last week might be saying more than originally thought.

Last week, Facebook sent out an invite for an event it's hosting on Thursday. On the invitation, the company says, "Come See Our New Home on Android." Other than making clear that it the event will be Android related, the company provided no additional details.

However, the invitation's message might be coded to include the name of a new product the company has been working on, called Facebook Home, Google news site 9to5Google reported, citing people who claim to have knowledge of its plans. Facebook, the site's sources say, has been working on a version of the Android mobile operating system that will run on HTC devices and will put upfront Facebook's many features and apps, including messaging, photos, and contacts. The project is called Facebook Home, according to 9to5Google, thus the mention of the company's "New Home on Android."

The sources that 9to5Google is in touch with did not say exactly what will be shown at the event, but they expect Facebook to detail how its operating system, which is built on top of Android, actually works. So far, no carriers hav... [Read more]

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Name your own price for six (really) good Android games

Δευ, 01/04/2013 - 14:00

For as little as $5.52, you can walk away with these six top-rated (and, in some cases, beloved) Android games.

(Credit: Humble Bundle)

I feel like I'm on bundle overload these days, what with some new software or game collection cropping up on an almost weekly basis.

That said, when I see a good one, I gotta share. And if you're an Android user, this is definitely a good one.

For the next week or so, the Humble Mobile Bundle offers six surprisingly good Android games for whatever price you want to pay. Well, sort of.

It works like this: There are six apps on the table. Four can be had for any amount: a penny, a dollar, whatever. If you pay at least the average (currently $5.52), you get all six.

Given that the games have a combined value of around $13.50, you're getting a deal even if you pay, say, $10. And you'll have the satisfaction of knowing that some percentage (your choice) of your money is going to a good cause: the Electronic Frontier Foundation and Child's Play. You can also steer some to the very deserving developers.

Of course, if you're totally skint, you can just grab the four for two bits or whatever and be on your way. Here's a look at the winning titles in this collection:

Anomaly Korea If you... [Read more]

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Track blocked calls and texts on Android with Current Caller ID

Παρ, 29/03/2013 - 23:52

(Credit: WhitePages)

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When someone can't take the hint and keeps calling or texting you, it might be time to disable their ability to do so. The Android contact app allows you to send callers directly to voice mail, which is fine in most cases; however, if you're still getting flooded with voice mails, or even texts, Current Caller ID can help.

The app's new blocking feature -- suggested by users to WhitePages -- will let you quickly send callers to voice mail without fumbling through the contacts app, or perform a pickup and hang up operation when they call. Here's how to set it up:

Note: The blocking feature that picks up and hangs up is not working properly on a few handsets (like the T-Mobile Galaxy S3 and Note II running 4.1.2) at this time. However, WhitePages is aware of the issue and is working to resolve it immediat... [Read more]

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Google, Nokia face off in video codec dispute

Παρ, 29/03/2013 - 17:33

The WebRTC standard for Web-based communications is a battleground for Nokia and Google over the VP8 video technology.

The nascent WebRTC standard for video communications on the Web has become a technology battleground pitting Google against Nokia.

The reason for a war not just of words but also of actions is a lowly technology called a codec, which compresses video for efficient networking and compact storage. Google wants the Net to embrace its royalty-free, open-source VP8 codec, but Nokia is trying to quash VP8 by refusing to license patents it says are required to use it.

Google, meanwhile, has come to the aid of Android phone maker HTC in a Nokia patent-infringement case that involves VP8.

Why the hard feelings? In a statement, Nokia said it's trying to keep Google from infringing its patents and forcing inferior, proprietary technology down the industry's throat:

Nokia believes that open and collaborative efforts for standardization are in the best interests of consumers, innovators and the industry as a whole. We are now witnessing one company attempting to force the adoption of its proprietary technology, which offers no advantages over existing, widely deployed standards such as H.264 and infringes Nokia's intellectual p... [Read more]

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Change of heart? IE11 might speed Web graphics with WebGL

Παρ, 29/03/2013 - 12:51

The WebGL-powered version of Google Maps shows transparent 3D buildings such as this view of Kowloon and offers other fancy effects.

(Credit: screenshot by Stephen Shankland/CNET)

Microsoft's next version of Internet Explorer might just support WebGL, a standard for accelerated 3D graphics on the Web that the company previously has attacked as a security risk.

A leaked version of the next version of Windows, code-named Blue, came with a version of IE11, and developer's scrutiny of the browser shows evidence of WebGL.

"It seems like WebGL interfaces are defined but not functional at this time," said Web developer and author Francois Remy in a blog post this week. That means that the IE11 build has some infrastructure in place to support WebGL, but lacks actual support at this stage.

Microsoft won't confirm anything at this stage. "We don't comment on rumors or speculation," the company said in a statement.

WebGL got its start at Mozilla and won Google's endorsement as a way to bring 3D graphics to the Web and to speed them up with hardware acceleration. WebGL, also helpful with 2D graphics acceleration, is good for games and poten... [Read more]

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International Mobile Gaming Awards hit San Francisco

Παρ, 29/03/2013 - 08:21
(Credit: IMGA)

After existing as a peripheral event during Mobile World Congress each year in Barcelona, Spain, the International Mobile Gaming Awards this year moved its ninth annual show to San Francisco.

Launched in 2004, the IMGA is a competition for mobile games developed in countries across Europe, Asia, and the Americas. Awarding is based on two rounds of judging by a jury of twelve, with 10 category finalists announced in the months leading up to the event, and one winner ultimately winning in each category. In addition, the IMGA also gives awards for Honorable Mention, People's Choice (based on online voting), and Grand Prix (best overall game).

This year's show was hosted by Australian blogger and television personality Maude Garrett from Geek Bomb, and it featured a handful of big-name games, as well as quite a few that we had never heard of. All of the nominees presented, though, looked fantastic based on the short video snippets that were presented. Check out the winners below:

(Credit: Fireproof Games)

Excellence in Visuals The Room, a popular puzzle-solving, story-driven mystery game won the Excellence in Visuals award for good reason. Each new puzzle is presented in beautifully textured realistic 3D graphics complete with lighting effects. Even on the first puzzle, you will immediately see why this game de... [Read more]

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Google shows interest in ASM.js, Mozilla's plan for fast Web apps

Πεμ, 28/03/2013 - 23:12

Some low-level benchmarks show ASM.js software outperforming ordinary JavaScript in both Firefox and Chrome, and coming close to the speed of native software.

(Credit: Alon Zakai/Mozilla)

At least some at Google want to embrace a Mozilla-backed project to speed up Web apps written with JavaScript -- even though it competes directly with Google's own Native Client and Dart programming technology.

Mozilla has been working for months on a technology called ASM.js, which it hopes will boost JavaScript performance, especially in combination with a related Mozilla-spawned technology called Emscripten. JavaScript powers Web apps such as Google Docs, and ASM.js is a special "extremely restricted" subset of the programming language that's designed to make it easier for developers to bring existing software written in the C programming language to the Web.

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Apple tries new pitch to woo video pros to latest Final Cut

Πεμ, 28/03/2013 - 20:15

Just days ahead of one of the largest gatherings of video producers, Apple's making a new push for attention -- and hopefully adoption -- of its controversial video editing software.

Apple today debuted a new series of promotional plugs by some top film and content makers, all in an effort to push others to Apple's Final Cut Pro X software, notes the Los Angeles Times. Some of those include videos featuring video editor and director Julian Liurette, director Tsui Hark, and Mexican media company TV Azteca.

It's not unusual for Apple to make these types of videos, which it does for its other "pro" apps Aperture and Logic. What's noteworthy is that it's all happening right before the National Association of Broadcasters' annual show, where Final Cut Pro was first introduced.

Apple's Final Cut Pro X came out in June 2011, following a stealthy debut at a private event during the National Association of Broadcasters show. Once released, it rubbed many longtime users the wrong way with its changes. The program had a whole new look, and promised to speed things up things like rendering, but it was also incompatible with older project files, removed some features, and changed long-established workflows.

The changes, along with a lack of updates ... [Read more]

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Despite Google patent efforts, VP8 no shoo-in for Web video

Πεμ, 28/03/2013 - 09:00

Justin Uberti, a WebRTC leader and VP8 advocate at Google, speaking at Google IO 2012.

(Credit: screenshot by Stephen Shankland/CNET)

A Google patent-licensing deal two weeks ago dramatically improved the fortunes of its VP8 video technology, but Nokia has added a barricade to what has already been an arduous road to adoption.

VP8 is a codec -- technology to encode and decode video or audio data for compact storage and efficient network streaming. Despite passionate debates about VP8 vs. the incumbent codec, H.264, most people need never care about video codecs.

But as video becomes ever more deeply embedded in the Net -- TV entertainment, chatting with friends, videoconferences for business, online schooling for children -- the video codec issue becomes ever more important. At stake in the current debate is whether H.264 and its big-business licensing terms will prevail, or whether there also is room for an open-source, free-to-use alternative that could give an edge to cash-strapped startups, schools, and self-publishers.

Spreading VP8 Google and allies including Mozilla want to build VP8 into the workings of the Net as a royalty-free technology. The current focus for the debate is WebRTC, a technology for Web-based chat that members of the Internet Engineering Task Force are standardizing.

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Gmail for iOS adds more organizational tools

Πεμ, 28/03/2013 - 02:24

Swipe between messages

(Credit: Screenshot by Kent German/CNET)

As part of a flurry of changes today, Google updated its Gmail app for iOS.

The core structure and design of the app remain largely the same, but Google added several new useful features that make browsing and organizing your messages easier. Here are the highlights.

  • You now can jump between messages by swiping horizontally across your iPhone or iPad display. This new action saves you from having to close an e-mail and return to your home screen before you can move on to your next message.
  • The app now supports up to five Gmail accounts.
  • With the Search bar, you can scan your inbox and folders using a contact's name or a specific term. Predictive text can save time as you type.
  • In a very welcome move, you'll be able to organize a group of messages simultaneously using the Action Bar. After making your selections, you then can archive the messages, delete them, mark them as unread, or report them as spam.
  • After creating a message, you can add multiple attachments, including... [Read more]

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Mozilla wants you to get your game on -- in your browser

Τετ, 27/03/2013 - 20:39

SAN FRANCISCO--If you could play high-end, 3D games in your browser at the same speed as on a console, would you? Here at the annual Game Developers Conference, the maker of Firefox revealed a plan to get you to do just that.

Mozilla's current holy grail is getting the mix of HTML5, JavaScript, and CSS that powers the modern Web to run apps at speeds that rival native code, the operating system-dependent languages underpinning apps on iOS, Android, Windows 8, and other proprietary systems.

The not-so-secret weapon in Mozilla's plan is something called ASM.js, said Director of Engineering Vladimir Vukicevic. "It's a dialect of JavaScript that can optimize [code] much better. It's around two times as fast," he said.

Mozilla announced here today that through a partnership with Epic Games, it's ported Epic's Unreal Engine 3 to the Web using ASM.js and the JavaScript compiler Emscripten. Mozilla said that it's working with other big-name gaming companies including Disney, Electronic Arts, and ZeptoLab.

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Some iOS 6.1.3 users hit by battery drain and Wi-Fi issues

Τετ, 27/03/2013 - 14:24
(Credit: Image created by Josh Long/CNET)

Another iOS update, another round of complaints.

Released last week, Apple's iOS 6.1.3 was designed to fix a security hole that let someone access the iPhone by sneaking past the lock screen. But the update also seems to have plagued some users with other problems, according to blog site Gotta Be Mobile.

The persistent battery drain rears its ugly head again with iOS 6.1.3. Several people posting on Apple's Support Communities forum say the battery drains faster after installing the new update. Some have tried the usual fixes, such as turning off notifications and restoring the device to factory settings, but say their battery charge still doesn't last long.

Battery drain seems to be a constant complaint with every new iOS update. Just how pervasive a problem is it?

A significant number of people ran into battery drain woes with iOS 5.0, forcing Apple to ... [Read more]

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