Tag Archive for ‘Salon’

iPhone apps hit $30-million; Jobs confirms Apples power to hit “kill switch”

The Wall Street Journal today reports sales of iPhone and iPod touch apps via Apple’s iTunes Music Store hit $30-million last month, and wiley Chairman and CEO Steve Jobs publically acknowledge his company does in fact have to power to hit a “kill switch” to zap on users’ devices applications the company deems dangerous. I wrote about antivirus and antispyware protection for portable devices for Salon two weeks ago, on how protection for smartphones has been around for some time and recently Intego announced a half-assed means of protecting iPhones and iPod touches (not quite), but the kill switch definitely rates as the biggest Big Brother means of active eradication ever. Here on the home screen one minute, gone the next?


iPhone 2.01 visual voicemail headset problem still can’t hear you now; Jawbone 2 retry sounds no better in spite of “experimental” buds

Two things to do with wireless audio. First, a number of iPhone users reported 2.0 devices paired with Bluetooth headsets worked fine on calls but they were unable to listen to visual voicemail messages via the headset, forcing them to dial in to their voicemail and listen to it the old fashioned way. My iPhone 3G had this problem with one headset, while it worked fine with a second headset – the Aliph Jawbone 2, which I reviewed for Salon’s Machinist column (giving it low marks for its underperforming noise-cancellation feature). Users are reporting the visual voicemail problem isn’t fixed with the iPhone 2.01 update; I’m unable to test because I don’t have a second headset handy.

As for the Jawbone 2, Aliph sent a second Jawbone 2 to try in case the first was defective, and also tossed in two “experimental” gel earbuds to try to see if they did a better job of keeping their Jawbone more firmly planted against mine. With the standard earbuds the NoiseAssassin was as ineffective as before while talking and walking my dog along lightly busy street traffic under low sea-breeze conditions. The test bud has an extended flange of sorts that makes plugging the headset into the ear awkward because of the loop, and though the extra-push it provided pressed the Jawbone 2 more firmly against my face, the sound quality was barely better, and the lightly yet still more forceful feel grew uncomfortable after 20 minutes of yapping. My only explanation: Maybe I need to work my jaw eating more junk food so my cheeks fill out to make the Jawbone 2’s job easier.


eReader 1.1 update for iPhone widens your virtual bookshelf

In my post for Salon’s Machinist column I wrote that eReader for the iPhone (and iPod touch) is a dream-come-true for me.

I’m pleased to see that FictionWise is sticking to its words to offer frequent updates and improvements to the program.

The first update offers the following enhancements:

eReader for iPhone and iPod touch version 1.1 includes the following new features:

  • The ability to download eReader PDB files from web sites other than eReader.com and Fictionwise.com, as well as personal content in eReader PDB format. For details see the Personal Content FAQ.
  • New options to: lock screen orientation, tap instead of swipe to turn pages, choose white text on black background, turn off page animation, and turn off full justification of text.
  • Ability to sort the on-device bookshelf by author, title, or download date.
  • Better error messages and several bug fixes.


Linux-based cellphones promise better personal security

A few days ago I wrote a post for Salon about programs to protect smartphones from viruses and malware, this story about Linux-based cellphones in today’s New York Times takes the conversation in a new and interesting direction. To wit:

Regarding security, the new phones will be able to identify their owners. If, by chance, a stranger uses the phone and requests downloads at odds with the owner’s profile, Mr. Gillis said the phone’s security feature will kick in and shut it down. Profile information would also make it easier for a consumer to find points of similar interest when they are traveling in, say, Barcelona or Kyoto.


Guest blogger posts for Salon’s Machinist column

On Friday I filed my last post as guest blogger for Salon’s Machinist column (complete list below). Special thanks to readers for taking time to comment – especially those who left very kind words for my final post.

So long!
How I spent (two weeks of) my summer as Machinist’s guest blogger.
A Grimm take on games
Video game designer American McGee loves the darkest tales best.
One-minute review: Jawbone 2 headset
A new Bluetooth is supposed to cancel noise, but all that’s canceled is the conversation you want to hear.
Give us a (virtual) kiss
Facebook gift designer Susan Kare on Mac icons, computer kisses and everything in between.
Leave my phone alone!
New software for protecting iPhones and smart phones.
The movie-download food chain
From big screen to hard disk, how Hollywood doles out digital media.
All you can eat — for cheap?
Comparing unlimited cellphone plans.
Mini-Note has many problems
The diminutive computer scores high on design but low on functionality.
Noisy and oh-so-nice
Das’ new keyboard has the look and feel of a classic.
Searching 101
Three tips for better search results.
Can Cuil kill Google? Not yet
The new search engine has its perks, but so far, it falls short.
How safe is safe?
Security expert Doug Camplejohn on building a smarter firewall to outsmart cyber slimeballs.
A bookmark for the iPod
Books on tape turn to books on iPod, and listeners must learn to find their places accordingly.
(World wide) web of intrigue
A high-tech mystery and more are on Machinist’s summer reading list.
Do-good phone doesn’t look good
Credo, a new green cellphone company, has great intentions but not such great gear.
E-books galore
Sony expands its e-library, challenging Amazon.com.
Knol lacks knowledge
Google’s would-be Wikipedia competitor doesn’t have the goods to challenge the Free Encyclopedia. Yet.
Phoning it in
Blogging from your mobile: Tools for the writer on the go.
The DVD isn’t dead
More movie and TV downloading devices have entered the ring, but the DVD hasn’t gone down (yet).
User friendly
XBox Live for Windows gets cheaper and adds gamer-generated content.
A stickies situation
Simplify your workspace by squishing your stickies and separating your screens.
Remember typewriters?
Adios distractions, hello single-task focus, thanks to word-processing programs that re-create the simplicity of blank paper and ink.
One-minute review: A balancing act for small spaces
Staying cool in an upright and mostly locked-in position to get things done.
Digital disasters friends and family should have prevented
Oops, I was going to back up my computer, but…
Why the iPhone is the best and worst e-book reader ever
Reading a long novel on a tiny screen is claustrophobic, but if the book is good your brain will get the message.



Contact: joeygadget @ gmail.com

“Joe Hutsko is the latest in a short list of novelists willing to take on Silicon Valley”

A story about The Deal can be found here: Tale From The Chip

The story is also available in PDF format.

Joe Hutsko is a technology consultant and writer. His stories on high-tech gadgets, gear, and video games have appeared in the New York Times, Salon.com, MSNBC.com, Fortune, Wired, Macworld, the Washington Post, Newsweek, TV Guide, GameSpot, Popular Science, Laptop and numerous other publications. He is also the author of The Deal, a novel of Silicon Valley.


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