Tech News

How many Flickr users does it take to recreate Rome?

Posted on September 22, 2009. Filed under: Tech News | Tags: , |

By Nik Fletcher, Downloadsquad


Flickr is one of my favourite all-time web services, and I’ll admit a huge fascination with some of the visualisation stuff the Flickr folks do with maps, Flickr photos and their location data. So you can imagine my excitement last week as Popular Science featured a piece on how a University of Washington Graphics team automatically recreated Rome with images from Flickr. The team took photos from 150,000 Flickr users, and using some custom algorithms recreated Rome automatically using 500 computers and 13 hours processing time. They even went one better and also recreated the slowly-sinking city of Venice, and built that 3D virtual model from 250,000 photos in under a day.

By now you’re probably thinking ‘that’s an incredibly long time to render’ – however the team is touting the speed of the 3D model building here too. The technology used in Microsoft’s PhotoSynth product (which also originated at the same research lab) would have taken a calendar year to automatically build the same 3D model of Venice.

Be sure to take a look at the video tours over on the Popular Science Web site, and see the end results from Flickr’s library – the team have set their sights on a million-image based rendering of a city in the future, so hopefully there’s plenty more of these to come!

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µTorrent 2.0 beta released

Posted on August 11, 2009. Filed under: Tech News | Tags: , , |

By Brad Linder, Downloadsquad

Ubuntu netbook

The latest stable version of the popular Bittorrent client µTorrent is version 1.83. But the developers decided that the next major release packed in too much to simply call it µTorrent 1.9, so the next version will be called version 2.0. And µTorrent 2.0 beta is already available for download.

The update brings:

  • Support for UDP trackers, a new protocol for BitTorrent trackers that uses less CPU power on the tracker end
  • Improved setup dialog with built-in speed test
  • Transfer Cap options that help you track and control how much data you transfer (which helps if your ISP caps your data transfer rates)

The beta is only available for Windows at the moment. The latest version of µTorrent for OS X is

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OMG Yahoo Gets For Cheap

Posted on August 11, 2009. Filed under: Tech News | Tags: , , |

By MG Siegler, Tech crunch

Yahoo has been active in the domain buying and selling space the past few months. Today, it was revealed to be the buyer of, which sold last week for $80,000, according to Domain Name Wire.

It’s a great domain, and a really, really great price especially considering the image-centric it has called yes, OMG. (Note: I had no idea it actually existed, at least partially because it didn’t have the domain — well, and also cause I’m not into celebrity gossip. But supposedly, it’s big.)

Of course, Yahoo has a history of obtaining good domain names and doing nothing or next to nothing with them. It sold in June for $380,000 after sitting on it for many years. It also sold to WordPress parent Automattic in April of this year.

Given the numbers for recent sales, it does seem like Yahoo scooped for a bargain basement price. As we said, it sold for $380,000, which also seemed cheap at the time when you compare it to something like, which sold for $3 million in June. And in February, sold for $5.1 million.

Sure, “OMG” is not even really a word, but it has become a common phrase in pop culture and would seem to be worth more than $80K in a world where sells for $3M — especially since it’s only 3 letters.

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Ubuntu Netbook Remix gets an interface overhaul

Posted on August 11, 2009. Filed under: Notebook, Tech News | Tags: |

Ubuntu netbook

The folks at Canonical are in the process of redesigning the user interface for Ubuntu Netbook Remix. UNR is basically a custom version of Ubuntu that includes optimizations for netbooks with Intel Atom processors as well as a desktop environment and program launcher designed for computers with small, low resolution displays.

The first version of Ubuntu Netbook Remix introduced a few key concepts. By default, all program windows opened up in full screen. And instead of a typical desktop and start menu approach, you had a list of application categories on the right side of the screen, program shortcuts with big icons in the middle, and a list of places on the right side.

The new version eliminates the toolbars on the right side of the screen to give you more space for program shortcuts. Instead, the places menu has been integrated with the right-side panel. There’s also a slightly refined color scheme, and it’s easier to add program shortcuts to your Favorites area.

The updated version of Ubuntu Netbook Remix should be ready in time for the launch of Ubuntu 9.10 Karmic Koala in October. You can get an early peek by downloading the pre-release version of the operating system. Make sure to select the ISO labeled “netbook remix.”

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Fast forward to 4.0 with a new Firefox theme

Posted on August 11, 2009. Filed under: Internet, Tech News | Tags: , |

By Lee Mathews, Downloadsquad

Mozilla firefox

Not long ago a DeviantArt user put together a Firefox 3/3.5 theme based on Mozilla’s concept for Firefox 3.7. Want to go the extra .3 and jump ahead to version 4? Take a look at Strata40.

By using the them in conjunction with a few Firefox addons – All Glass, Personal Menu, Fission, Omnibar, and Stylish – and following some lengthy but simple instructions you’ll have yet another slick, futuristic look for your browser. The complete rundown is available on SpewBoy’s DevArt page. I didn’t adhere strictly to the 4.0 look (I added bookmarks and downloads buttons), but you’re free to tweak the layout to your liking.

As before, don’t forget to change the FF window title text using Titlebar Tweak or Nightly Tester Tools to make the illusion even more believable. You’ll need NTT anyway to get the theme working on Firefox 3.6, so you may as well have some fun with it.

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BatteryCare provides detailed laptop battery info

Posted on August 11, 2009. Filed under: Tech News | Tags: |

By Brad Linder, Downloadsquad


Sure, Windows will do a decent job of estimating how much juice is left in your laptop battery and let you adjust your power management settings accordingly. But BatteryCare goes a few steps further, by providing you with information like the battery’s total capacity, voltage, CPU temperature, and manufacturer, if the information is available.

The program also tracks your battery’s discharge cycle. After a certain number of partial discharges, a notification pops up recommending you completely discharge the battery to optimize performance.

You can also use BatteryCare to automatically adjust your laptop power plan. For instance, it could switch to the home/office profile when plugged in, and the portable/laptop power pan when you unplug the laptop.

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Hot Gloo: web-based wireframing for information architects

Posted on August 11, 2009. Filed under: Tech News | Tags: , , |

By Jay Hathaway, Downloadsquad


Hot Gloo is an online wireframing tool designed with information architects in mind. The heart of the app is a palette of the main site elements IAs use in wireframes every day. The elements can be easily positioned and resized by dragged, making Hot Gloo a cinch to use. Throw in the ability to share your designs with clients via the web, and this app could the wireframer’s new best friend.

You can add multiple users for collaboration, too, either as editors or reviewers. The ability to add comments to any part of your work helps you explain things to clients effectively. The full featureset will be active During Hot Gloo’s fee beta period, with one exception: you only get 3 projects and 5 people. This should be enough to get a feel for the app before it’s completely finished, but the sharing limit means Hot Gloo is not the kind of beta product you can immediately start using professionally.

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Internet Explorer 8 becomes a gentleman today

Posted on August 11, 2009. Filed under: Microsoft, Tech News | Tags: , , |

By Lee Mathews, Downloadsquad

Internet Explorer 8

Back in July, Microsoft detailed a few changes that were “coming soon” to the Internet Explorer 8 installer. In a nutshell, the new version was designed to be less…well…presumptuous.

Previously, the installer’s Express mode would automatically set IE as your default browser without so much as an “excuse me.” That’s no longer the case. As stated in the official blog post, “IE will never install, or become the default browser without your explicit consent.”

In a nutshell, if you’re the click-first-and-read-warnings-later type, you no longer have to worry about your browser of choice getting hijacked during a Windows Update-related mishap. The change is all part of Microsoft’s commitment to user choice and control. Stop snickering.

Clearly Microsoft has learned not to make the same mistake as Corbin Dallas.

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16 Apps That Make Sharing Large Files A Snap

Posted on August 9, 2009. Filed under: Tech News | Tags: , , , , , , |

by Orli Yakuel, Tech crunch

sharing services are not as popular today as they were four years ago. It’s not that people are sharing any less. Rather, they just found easier ways to do it. Would you upload a funny video from a friend’s email to any of those services or would you search for it on Youtube and share only the link? Would you upload an MP3 file in order to share with whomever, or would you search for it online, grab the link and then share it? And finally, would you use a file-sharing app just to share a picture on Facebook when you can do it directly from your desktop to your Facebook profile? Of course, you wouldn’t!files sharing

So why would you use an file-sharing app anyway? Actually for many reasons: for larger files, for privacy, multiple files, file format support, and more.

In this post, I compare 16 file-sharing services.  I took three main issues under consideration when creating the comprehensive app list below: Free, Fast, and Useful . . .

Most of the services suggested require no registration. None of them will ask you to download anything to your computer, and all of them are easy to use, and worth using. It is actually great to see services, such as Yousendit, MailBigFile, and Rapidshare, that are still relevant and are good choices, but if I had to pick one it would be Mediafire.

Don’t get confused now.  This is not a list of services that let you store all your files in the cloud, organizes them, or allows you to collaborate with friends. It’s more focused on file-sharing only, in the richest capacity—well, okay, you be the judge of that.


11 is probably the most commonly-known site featured here. But I couldn’t keep it from the list because it’s really a good one and despite all its features, it’s actually simple to use. The light version is not so attractive though. Here’s what you get: File uploads up to 25MB/file (OK, that’s pretty lame). 5 collaboration folders, 1GB storage, mobile access, public file sharing, folder widget, and a few more options. The other plans are far richer, but for personal use, the free one is enough (except for the lame file uploads limit). One thing that bothered me is that you can’t upload a file without signing up. That’s the old fashion way, don’t you think?

15 Rapidshare is lacking in features & design, but if you’re looking for a one-click file host, you came to the right place. Founded in 2006, the service is the twelfth most visited homepage in the world. With Rapidshare, users can upload big files (200MB) in one step and subsequently make them available to friends and family via the download link. Premium accounts offer additional convenience, through TrafficShare that provides the option to make files available for direct downloading. The recipient of the file can access it instantaneously even if he/she is not a premium account member of RapidShare. A file can be downloaded 10 times, and will be deleted after 90 days.

2 I always liked and even now with much more usage than before, it is still simple to  understand. No need to sign up in order to quickly send a private link with your file(s). Maximum file upload is 100MB, but there are three different packages that will give you a whole lot more. Back to the free service; you can share, collaborate, and present music, videos, documents, audio, in a private drop, through email, web, phone, fax, and more. Additionally, you’ll be able to privately chat with the people you share a file with, in real-time.

2009-08-07_175843 Filedropper aims to give the most basic file hosting service that enables you to share stuff quickly. Therefore, there’s nothing complicated here, just upload the file, and share it. Simple as that. Filedropper says you can upload up to 5GB per file, which looks a bit odd to me – after all, who needs that (unless you are transferring HD videos, I guess)? Very similar to Filedropper, is FileSavr, which offers you the same package completely, with a slight change: uploads up to 10GB per file…

4 I actually marked this one as a favorite: Wikisend – an elegant and simple interface that helps you share files quickly. Share files with your friends using email, social networks, your blog, forums and so on. You can also protect the file with a password and choose the range of the file’s lifetime up to 90 days (max)

6 You can use Driveway even without registration and send up to 500MB max for each upload.  Signing up for a free account offers several advantages: A registered user can upload up to 2 GB of data to the Driveway account. Additionally, you can upload, manage and create widgets for files and folders and search for files/folders within your account.

7 With the free plan of Send6, you can send files up to 100MB size, which you can store in your 250MB free space. Send6 also has a free plug-in for Outlook that allows you to send large files directly from your Desktop. Please note that you don’t need to register to send files to friends. Sharing is done via email only.

8 Zshare is mainly used to share files that are too big to be sent via e-mail. With Zshare you can host files, images, videos, audio and flash in the same place, and as long as they remain active they can be downloaded limitlessly. Zshare lets you upload files up to 1GB, and if you register for the service (still free), you’ll be able to share them privately. Premium members get faster downloads (like most of the services here) and the ability to upload up to 2GB per each upload. Multiple files are allowed in both free and premium lines.

10 Overall, 2large2email has a nice and comfortable email-like interface for sharing large files. How large? 100MB in the free plan. However, if you’re looking for something good and free, 2larg2email is not your answer. The service won’t give you any additional features but password protection, and your files can be downloaded up to 7 times, will be saved for only 7 days, and will expire after that. For more features, you’ll have to pay, or move and chose another service. BTW, I’m not saying that you shouldn’t pay for premium services, but if there are other services for personal use, that offer you more for less, you may want to check them out first.

12 For busy people, Senduit is the best choice there is! It’s a one-page platform that generates a private link from the file you upload (100MB Max) for easy sharing. You can send the link via email through Senduit’s page directly, or copy-paste the link to any other communication channel (IM, Social networks, etc.). You get to choose when the link will expire—from 30 min. to 1 week.

13I couldn’t find the exact amount that you can upload per file to Flyupload, but the service looks great. Flyupload allows you to store, access, share and backup your digital documents, photographs, and music easily with complete privacy online. Registered users get extra features like 2GB space of files, Multi-uploads with an upload progress bar. You can also upload large files via FTP or create folders and keep track of files and Images. Additionally, Flyupload lets you share files from your database, to your Twitter account with a side tool called: Flyontwit.

14If I had to choose one service only from this list, Mediafire would be it. The service has a good looking UI, with some great usability. It lets you share files even when you’re not logged in and gives you a set of tools to complete this experience. For individual use, you can freely share files up to 100MB with unlimited uploads, unlimited downloads, unlimited bandwidth, and unlimited storage. This is why you might choose Mediafire over 2large2email, for example. When signing up, Mediafire enables you to organize your files in folders, search and view your files, and email/share/embed with others. It’s the best service that you can get for free.

17I was surprised to see that underneath the new layout of DivShare is the same great service from three years ago. And, even more surprised to discover some files I had stored 3 years ago in the service are still there! DivShare is a file management service that not only lets you share files, but also saves them for later (for an unlimited period of time). The maximum size per file is 200MB and you have 5GB space for free to start. After the upload, you’ll be able to embed your videos, audio and slide shows on any web site or profile. Diveshare has an iPhone and Facebook applications, a WordPress plug-in and an open API, if you want to build something yourself.

19Back when I tried MailBigFile in 2005, I thought this was a great service that offered a convenient solution to sending larger files. I still think it’s a good service. You don’t need to sign up, but if you choose to this is the best pro account for your dollar. Even though, you can use the service for free and as long as you want to send up to 200MB per file via email (but with no additional features). MailBigFile has the best price for a pro account – $15/year with an impressive list of features.

18Last but not least is good old Yousendit, which has never plummeted in its presence online. A reliable and secure service since 2004 that offers the ability to send free 100MB files with a maximum number of 100 downloads allowed per file. You use it just like an email, choose a recipient, send it directly to a person’s inbox, and you get a notification when your file is downloaded.

Sharing files, large or small, should be a simple act, in my opinion—not something that should require a major effort or thought process on your behalf or make you create a complicated profile/account to use it. The options I listed here will help you explore the diverse file-sharing opportunities currently available. Whether you need to send a file privately or publicly, small or big, temporary or permanent, the options are all in this list, you just need to find the best match for your needs.

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Lifehacker starts Gmail Ads bloodbath

Posted on August 6, 2009. Filed under: Google, Tech News | Tags: , , |


By Jay Hathaway,

do massacres and bloodbaths have to do with your Gmail account? Lifehacker has discovered that they could be the key to getting rid of the pesky, hard-to-block text ads that show up next to your messages in Gmail’s web interface. It turns out that advertisers don’t like being associated with certain keywords, falling into categories like profanity and tragic violence. Rather than risk an amusing (at best) or offensive (at worst) ad placement, Google just doesn’t display ads next to messages that have a certain density of these keywords.

Lifehacker was able to take advantage of this filtering system to create an email signature that should eliminate the ads. Rather than going the profane route, they whipped up the following innocuous statement: “I enjoy the massacre of ads. This sentence will slaughter ads without a messy bloodbath.” If you can live with a violent email signature, you can probably come up with your own variation.

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In The Pre-Chrome OS World, Google Optimizes Gmail For Netbooks

Posted on August 6, 2009. Filed under: Google, Internet, Tech News | Tags: , , , |

by MG Siegler, Tech crunch

Google is clearly enamored with the netbook space. We already know that it’s serving as an entry point for the new Chrome OS, but Google isn’t just going to sit around and wait for that, it’s starting to optimize its experience for netbooks already. labnolab

Tonight, Google has just released a small new feature in Gmail Labs so that users can optimize their email service for viewing on netbooks. It’s a small, but noteworthy setting as netbooks have become popular, yet most still run sites just as full-sized laptops would. Gmail’s engineers apparently had a problem with that, so they launched the new “Remove Labels from Subjects” feature.

Basically, this does exactly what it says, removes the labels that are normally in front of subject lines in Gmail. The idea is that this will save a lot of screen real estate, especially on netbooks.

While a lot has been said recently about the growing differences between Apple and Google, this attitude towards the netbook is as good of an example as any. While Apple has said time and time again that it isn’t interested in the netbook space (at least as it’s currently comprised), Google is clearly thinking about it a lot.

Google also notes that using its Chrome browser in full screen mode is a good solution for netbooks. That is, of course, until Chrome OS is released.

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Chrome’s New Feature: Click The UI Designer To Close The Window

Posted on August 5, 2009. Filed under: Google, Internet, Tech News | Tags: , , |

By MG Siegler, Tech crunch

This is just kind of odd. Look at the picture below. See the picture of some guy in place of the “X” button? Yeah, that’s this guy.

Apparently, one of Google’s Chrome UI designers, Glen Murphy, has inserted his face into the latest nightly build of Chrome. Specifically, this is the Linux build, which is meant for developers and testers (we haven’t been able to see it on the Mac or Windows versions).

Our tipster was pretty surprised when he downloaded the nightly build and saw a person’s face staring back at him, so he asked around on the Chromium irc channel, and found out it was Murphy (who you can see in a picture here from SXSW three years ago).

Apparently, the next update will remove Murphy’s face. Oh those Googlers, always messing around.

google chrome features

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Google Acquires Video Compression Technology Company On2 For $106 Million

Posted on August 5, 2009. Filed under: Google, Internet, Tech News | Tags: , , |

Google and On2 Technologies jointly announced today that they have entered into a definitive agreement under which Google will acquire On2, a developer of video compression technology. The acquisition is expected to close later this year. On2 markets video compression technologies that power high-quality video in both desktop and mobile applications and devices and also holds a number of interesting patents.

on2Some of its codec designs are known as VP3, VP4, VP5, TrueMotion VP6, TrueMotion VP7 and VP8. Its customers include Adobe, Skype, Nokia, Infineon, Sun Microsystems, Mediatek, Sony, Brightcove, and Move Networks. On2, formerly known as The Duck Corporation, is headquartered in Clifton Park, NY.

Under the terms of the agreement, each outstanding share of On2 common stock will be converted into $0.60 worth of Google class A common stock in a stock-for-stock transaction. The transaction is valued at approximately $106.5 million.

According to the release, $0.60 per share represents a premium of approximately 57% over the closing price of On2’s common stock on the last trading day immediately prior to the announcement of the transaction, and a premium of approximately 62% over the average closing price of On2’s common stock for the six month period immediately prior to the announcement of the transaction.

Important to note is that On2 once had a market cap in excess of $1 billion at its peak, after going public on the American Stock Exchange in 1999 following a merger with Applied Capital Funding (which was already listed at the time). Before its entry on the public market, The Duck Corporation had raised $6.5M in venture capital funding from Edelson Technology Partners and Citigroup Ventures.

Back in 2001, On2 made waves by releasing their VP3 compression technology to the open-source community, including their patents on the technology. The technology lives on in the form of (Ogg) Theora. You can find more information about this here.

The agreement is subject to On2 stockholder approval, regulatory clearances and other closing conditions.

Google is reluctant to dive into specific regarding the product plans until after the deal closes, although it’s conceivably related to its immensely popular video service YouTube.

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Latest Google Chrome Beta Is “30 Percent Faster,” Supports HTML5, And Is Prettier Too

Posted on August 5, 2009. Filed under: Google, Internet Market, Tech News | Tags: , , , |

by Erick Schonfeld, Tech crunch

Google just released a new beta version of its Chrome browser for Windows PCs. The company claims that it is 30 percent faster than the current stable version of the browser (based on V8 and SunSpider benchmarks).

googlechromelogoWhat may be more significant, though, is that this is the first version of Chrome that adds some support for HTML5, including video-tagging capabilities. The latest Firefox 3.5 beta also adopts HTML5, which allows for all sorts of cool things inside Web video like links and other interactive elements. It lets you treat video more like a Webpage. Along with Google’s acquisition of On2 today for its video codec, it looks like Google is getting behind open video in a big way. (Read this post from last year for more on the evolution of HTML).

The new Google Chrome beta is also prettier. Those themes we’ve been telling you about are now fully incorporated. And the new beta also improves the New Tab and Omnibox features.

When you create a new tab, Chrome shows you thumbnails of the sites you visits the most often (just like in Safari). These act as automatic bookmarks. Now, you can rearrange the thumbnails in any order you like by dragging and dropping them, or you can pin one down so that it doesn’t move even if you don’t visist it as much as other sites.

The Omnibox is Chrome’s all-in-one address and search bar. As you type words in, it gives you drop-down suggestions, which now have icons distinguishing between search results, bookmarks, and Websites.

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Mobile Ad Network mKhoj Rebrands As InMobi, Eyes Expansion In Europe

Posted on August 5, 2009. Filed under: Mobile World, Tech News | Tags: , , |

by Robin Wauters, Tech Crunch

Global mobile advertising network operator mKhoj shall henceforth be known under the name InMobi, which is infinitely easier to pronounce in the Western world. The company felt the rebranding was necessary given that it will be shifting more of its focus to Western Europe – where its services are currently already live in the UK, France, Italy, Germany and Spain – after gaining sufficient scale on the Asian and African mobile markets.

inmobi-2The startup is certainly performing pretty well in a very crowded market.

Based on our understanding of their eCPMs and monthly ad impressions (which range up to 2 billion per month and growing), it looks like they are currently grossing over $1m in mobile ad revenues per month.

That’s not too shabby, and if you consider that the eCPM rates they informed us about are based on averages from their operations on the Asian and African mobile markets, it’s conceivable that they’re looking at multiplying that revenue soon.

That is, if they manage to get traction in Europe, where eCPMs are generally much higher. If they book some early success, the company says it will be on track to become cash-flow positive later this year.

The company’s mobile advertising service – which is targeted more to the mobile web than applications – is currently available in over 23 countries and cites advertisers like Reebok, Yamaha, Cricket Nirvana and MakeMyTrip.

mKhoj InMobi has offices in Palo Alto, India and Singapore. The company raised a total of $7.6 million to date, starting out with a $500k seed round from a group of angel investors and followed up by a multi-million financing round led by Kleiner Perkins, Caufield & Byers and Sherpalo Ventures (the VC firm started by Ram Shriram, early backer and founding board member of Google).

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Personas is live, and an uglier Firefox is easier than ever!

Posted on April 2, 2009. Filed under: Tech News | Tags: , , , |

By Lee Mathews, Downloadsquad


Fans of other browsers have slammed Firefox’s rather plain appearance for ages. Now, at last, Mozilla fans have a weapon which they can proudly wield against their friends who run IE7 with bikini-clad Hotbar backgrounds!

Personas has gone live, complete with a gallery chock full of prefab styles that can be easily applied to your browser. As with any desktop theming, there are a few aesthetically pleasing creations but there are also a number of abhorrent designs.

Too many of them wind up making a cluttered, distracting mess of the menus. Strata, for example, puts an annoying orange line right through my bookmark buttons. With Cool Black, I can’t even read the labels. On the plus side, switching Personas doesn’t require restarting Firefox like traditional themes do.

Still, kudos to Mozilla for making themes easier for users to put together. Firefox’s easy and flexible personalization is one key advantage it has over competing browsers, so they may as well ride that horse ’till it drops.

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ThinkFree UNI-Paper lets you embed office docs online

Posted on April 2, 2009. Filed under: Google, Tech News | Tags: , , , , , , |

By Brad Linder, Downloadsquad


ThinkFree Office is a web-based office suite similar to Google Docs and Zoho Office. But the ThinkFree folks set themselves apart from the crowd last year when they released a desktop client that lets you edit documents on your computer and synchronize them with a web server.

Now ThinkFree is back with a Flash-based document viewer that you can embed on any web page. Just upload your Word, Excel, PDF, or PowerPoint file and ThinkFree will spit out some code you can use to share the document. Honestly, the new ThinkFree UNI-Paper service looks pretty much the same as the embedded document viewers from Issuu, docstoc, and Scribd. But the difference is that UNI-Paper is linked to a powerful web-based office suite, so you can edit your documents and then grab the embed code all from one place.

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Calibre looks like the essential app for eBook fans

Posted on March 18, 2009. Filed under: Tech News | Tags: , |

By Jay Hathaway, Downloadsquad


If you’re starting to amass a large collection of eBooks, formatted for all kinds of different readers, Calibre might be just what you need to help organize them. It’s a cross-platform app that can read and tag eBooks from Kindle 1 and 2, iPhone, and readers from Sony and Cybook. It can also convert text from all kinds of sources into eBook format, and function as its own server of sorts, so you can access your library online.

Calibre also looks great, with a display mode similar to the Cover Flow in iTunes — can someone explain what’s up with Cover Flow being so hot right now? — and a more practical list mode that just shows cover images on the side. You can also edit or fill in information about your books from Calibre, to make sure your library is accurate and organized. Oh, and if you’re a fan of the Stanza reader on the iPhone, Calibre’s hosting feature makes your books accessible through that, too.

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Discovery Communications Sues Amazon Over Kindle

Posted on March 18, 2009. Filed under: Tech News | Tags: , , , |

By Alex Weprin, Broadcastingcable


Discovery Communications is suing e-retailer, saying that its popular e-book reader the Kindle infringes upon a patent held by the company.

Most patent suits are between technology companies. Interestingly cable programming giant Discovery says it has valuable intellectual property that is being infringed by Amazon’s popular Kindle and Kindle 2 electronic book products.

The lawsuit is focusing specifically on Amazon’s delivery and distribution system for the books. Specifically, the company claims its patent covers a “secure, encrypted system for the selection, transmission, and sale of electronic books.”

Discovery referenced development work by founder John Hendricks in patent 7,298, 851, which the company was issued Nov. 20, 2007. The first edition of the Kindle launched in the U.S. Nov. 19, 2007

Discovery did not reference any other electronic reader devices, such as the Sony Reader in the infringement suit.

“The Kindle and Kindle 2 are important and popular content delivery systems,” said Joseph A. LaSala, Jr., General Counsel of Discovery Communications, in a statement. “We believe they infringe our intellectual property rights, and that we are entitled to fair compensation. Legal action is not something Discovery takes lightly. Our tradition as an inventive company has produced considerable intellectual property assets for our shareholders, and today’s infringement litigation is part of our effort to protect and defend those assets.”

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Carbonite launches online backup for Mac

Posted on March 18, 2009. Filed under: Internet, Tech News | Tags: , , , |

By Brad Linder, Downloadsquad


Carbonite has been providing online backup services for PC users for years. This week the company launched a Mac client.

Here’s how it works. For $54.95 a year, Carbonite provides you with unlimited online storage space to backup all the important files on your computer. At regular intervals, the program will scan the folders you designate and copy any new or changed files to the server. If you’re using your internet connection to download files, watch online videos, or do other things, Carbonite will adjust its upload speeds so it doesn’t interfere with your other activities.

In the event that your computer crashes, or if you need to recover some files you accidentally deleted, you can use Carbonite’s tools to restore the data to your Mac.

Carbonite isn’t the first service to offer online backup for Mac users. Mozy also has a Mac client which offers up to 2GB of storage space for free, or unlimited storage for $4.95 per month (or $59.40 per year).

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Amazanian makes searching Amazon easier

Posted on March 17, 2009. Filed under: Tech News | Tags: , |

By Brad Linder, Downloadsquad

amazanian is a storehouse of useful information whether you’re looking to buy something or just find information about it. But generally you have to first enter your search term and then click through to a product page to find items like customer reviews or sales rank.

Amazanian is a web site that uses the Amazon API to provides mode detailed information on the search results page. For each item, you’ll find a price, release date, availability information, customer rating, category, and sales rank. You can also click on tabs to read editorial or customer reviews and see similar products. And you add items to a shopping list with the click of a button. When you’re ready to check out from Amazon, you can click a button on the shopping list to add everything to your Amazon cart.

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Google Chrome on Linux progressing, screenshots inside

Posted on March 17, 2009. Filed under: Internet, Tech News | Tags: , |

By Lee Mathews, Downloadsquad


Ubuntu users (or users of a Ubuntu-based distro) who have been waiting patiently for the chance to play with Google Chrome, there’s now a dead simple way for you to do it. Thanks to the PPA (personal package archive) for Chromium daily builds team, getting the pre-alpha Chromium browser running on your system is about as painless as it can be at this stage.

You’ll need to add repositories, of course. They are (substitute jaunty or hardy if needed):

deb intrepid main
deb-src intrepid main

Once they’ve been added, running sudo apt-get install chromium-browser in a terminal window will take care of the rest. After the package has finished installing, just type chromium-browser [enter] to fire it up.

While it’s still in its early stages, Chromium on Linux runs as it does on Windows – fast and smooth. Some important features aren’t working yet, like the tab and bookmarks bars and options menu, but nearly everything else is. Incognito, history, download manager, and the new tab view are all functional, and every web page I tested rendered beautifully – and fast.

Check the gallery after the break for screenshots from my CrunchBang install.

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Dell Adamo arrives tomorrow? Google seems to think so

Posted on March 16, 2009. Filed under: Google, Tech News | Tags: , , |

By Paul Miller, Engadget


Thanks to a fortuitous search on Google Ireland, friendly tipster Niall spotted this rather intriguing sponsored link for Dell Adamo. Instead of the vague “Learn More” promised by similar sponsored links in the States, the ad on Google Ireland says that we can “Discover the Love Story on 17/3.” Dell has been pretty mum on a release date — most details, in fact — for this laptop, so it’d be quite the pleasant surprise to be staring at an order page for the thing as of tomorrow. Of course, the sponsored link goes to the same old splash page for Adamo we’ve got, so we’ll probably have to wait until tomorrow to find out what this really means — maybe Dell’s planning on teasing us another few months with vague statements and flashy imagery; wouldn’t that be thrilling?

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Credit Card Sized MP3 Player

Posted on March 16, 2009. Filed under: Music, Tech News | Tags: , , |

By Laura June, Engadget


We’ve seen some ultra-thin MP3 players, even ones that were credit-card sized, but this newest one actually maraudes as a credit card, numbers and all! There’s perilously little information available about the device, but we can tell you this: you’ll look and feel awesome sporting it, should you ever be able to get your hands on one; which we doubt. Price and availability are a mystery to us all.

Update: As pointed out by several of our astute commenters, this appears to be a Tokyo Flash concept for a Bluetooth adapter modeled on a previous credit card styled MP3 player.

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Pandora coming to Vudu, LAN streaming too

Posted on March 16, 2009. Filed under: Tech News | Tags: , |

By Nilay Patel, Engadget


We’ve always had a soft spot for Vudu and its 1080p HDX movie rentals, and it looks like it’s about to get even easier to love — our man Dave Zatz says that Pandora will be launching on the device “imminently.” Not only that, but it looks like the $150 box will also soon be able to stream video off your computer, making it even more flexible — pending codec support, of course. We’re on the lookout for official deets, we’ll let you know as we get ’em.

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