Friday, October 22, 2010

Microsoft to Launch Browser-based Game Store


On November 15 Microsoft will launch Games for Windows Marketplace, an online store that will let users buy digital copies of games directly from the browser.
Besides online access from any computer, key features of the store are “ultra-fast” downloads, search by titles or by genres, clean navigation as well as deals and discounts, including “Deal of the Week” and other recurring and seasonal offers.
Users will be able to purchase games with their Microsoft Points or a credit card.
The Games for Windows Marketplace is, in a way, a browser-based version of Microsoft’s Windows Games on Demand store, which is a part of its Games for Windows Live online service. By placing the store in a browser, Microsoft eliminates a couple of steps needed to purchase a game.
“With Games for Windows Marketplace, we set out to create a digital store built for PC gamers end-to-end. And by integrating with our existing Xbox LIVE and Windows Live services, we’ve made it easier than ever for millions of gamers to see for themselves how easy buying PC games can be”, said Kevin Unangst, senior global director of PC and Mobile Gaming at Microsoft.
At launch, there will be about 100 games available at the store, including Grand Theft Auto III, Dead Rising 2, Lost Planet 2, Max Payne, Deus Ex: Game of the Year Edition, Flight Simulator, Gears of War, Halo, Zoo Tycoon, Fable III, Age of Empires Online and Microsoft Flight.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

New MacBook Airs Are Like iPads With Keyboards [PICS]

Today Apple ended weeks of speculation surrounding updates to the MacBook Air. The lineup will be expanded to feature an 11.6-inch entry model and a more substantial 13.3-inch model. Pricing for the 13.3-inch model will start at $1,299, compared to just $999 for the 11.6-inch MacBook Air.

Apple CEO Steve Jobs was quick to point out that the new MacBook Air is a logical step beyond the iPad. Gone is the clunky button found at the base of previous MacBook Air models. The new versions now feature the same smooth, clickable trackpads available on every other MacBook and MacBook Pro.

The trackpads are capable of enhanced multitouch functionality similar to that found on the iPad. That said, the MacBook Air is substantially more powerful than any iOS device.

MacBook Air Standard Features

Both models will include:

  • Intel Core 2 Duo CPU
  • Nvidia GeForce 320m GPU
  • Solid state storage
  • 2GB DDR3 memory (expandable to 4GB)
  • Instant-on capabilities
  • FaceTime Camera (formerly iSight)
  • 802.11n Wi-Fi
  • Up to 30 days of standby battery life

11.6-inch MacBook Air

Its display is capable of a 1336 x 768 resolution and it has a battery that will last for five hours. This model comes with either a 64GB hard drive for $999 or a 128GB hard drive for $1,199. Both models feature a 1.4Ghz Intel Core 2 Duo processor, but the 128GB model is upgradeable to 1.6Ghz for another $100.

13.2-inch MacBook Air

The 13.2-inch models featuring a 1440 x 900 resolution display, with larger batteries capable of running for seven hours. They come with 1.86Ghz processors and start at 128GB for $1,299, but it’s expandable to 256GB for $1,599. The 256GB 13.2-inch MacBook Air can also be upgraded to a 2.13Ghz processor.

Both of the new MacBook Airs are available today.

MacBook Airs Back-to-Back

MacBook Airs Side-by-Side

MacBook Air Keyboard

MacBook Air Right

MacBook Air Left

MacBook Air Top


Tuesday, October 19, 2010

HP Unveils webOS 2.0

In addition to announcing the Palm Pre 2 Tuesday, HP announced webOS 2.0, which the company claims is the most significant update to the platform since its launch in 2009.

HP purchased Palm back in April, largely because of the promise of its mobile software platform, webOS. Visually, webOS 2.0 retains the flourish of its predecessor, but operationally it’s a lot more robust.

HP is bringing webOS 2.0 first to SFR in France via the new Palm Pre 2. The Palm Pre 2 will hit Verizon later this year. HP says existing customers can expect the webOS 2.0 update to arrive “in the coming months.”

So what’s new in webOS 2.0? The Palm Pre 2 page has a pretty good explanation, but here are some highlights:

  • Stacks – This is webOS 2.0’s take on multitasking. HP calls this “true multitasking” (in other words, preemptive), which is what webOS 1.0 had before. It’s a way to organize and keep related items together. So if you are trying to open up a webpage or create a new calendar event based on information from an e-mail, you can group all of those items together in one stack.
  • Just Type – Just Type is a new mechanism that lets you start typing before opening an app. You can then choose a Quick Action like sending an e-mail or a text message or doing a web search. Basically it’s Quicksilver on your phone.
  • Adobe Flash Player 10.1 Beta – Like Android and the BlackBerry PlayBook, webOS supports a beta of Flash Player 10.1. Adobe has long demoed Flash 10.1 on webOS devices, but now it’s baked into the web browser.
  • Skype Mobile – Verizon customers will get access to Skype-to-Skype calls and messaging and low-cost long-distance calls. This is an extension of the Verizon/Skype partnership.
  • QuickOffice Connect – The office viewer that we love on iOS and Android is now on webOS.
  • Facebook 2.0 – This will be available in the App Catalog and offer support for Facebook IM via the built-in Messaging application and support Stacks and Just Type Quick Actions.
  • Updated Browser – The WebKit-based browser has been updated to include more HTML5 and geolocation support.
  • VPN – WebOS will now connect to corporate networks, including IPsec and Cisco AnyConnect mobile-optimized VPNs.
  • Bluetooth keyboard support — Like iOS 4, webOS 2.0 supports Bluetooth keyboards and other Bluetooth peripherals.

The new Synergy feature is one of the cooler new software features for keeping contacts and calendars updated. You can automatically sync your Facebook, LinkedIn, Google, Yahoo and Microsoft Exchange info. If a contact’s information changes in one place, you’ll see it updated on your phone. This is pretty similar to what companies like Xobni and Meshin are doing, but it’s built-in at the OS level.

We don’t have a webOS 2.0 device in our hands, but our friends at PreCentral have a pretty exhaustive review of the new update and they seem pretty impressed.

We’ve always been fans of webOS as an operating system. The problem has been inspiring developer interest in the platform and making sure the hardware is both powerful enough to run the OS and well-made enough not to break or be unreliable.

WebOS 2.0 seems to have a lot going for it, but as I noted on the “Briefly Awesome” podcast last week, it seems prime for a tablet device. That’s where we want to see webOS, and where we think it has its best shot of being an inviting platform for application developers and users.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

8 Photoshop Tutorials for Retouching Your Profile Pic


Yes, you’re beautiful exactly the way you are. But that was true when you woke up this morning, and it likely didn’t stop you from showering, brushing your teeth, and otherwise spiffing up a bit.

Why not spruce up your online appearance as well? Even if you don’t have a magazine photo team to touch up your photo, it’s easy to make a couple of quick enhancements with basic Photoshop knowledge (just please don’t go too crazy — your friends should be able to pick you out of a lineup).

Whether you want to remove acne or add a tattoo — these eight tutorials will teach you how to retouch your photos like a pro.

1. Change Your Hair Color

Get opinions on a new color before you actually commit to the switch. This tutorial outlines the basic technique for giving yourself a digital dye job.

2. Remove Wrinkles

This tutorial lets you take your pick of two techniques for removing fine lines. One uses the patch tool and the other uses the healing tool. Both also work for removing the dark circles under eyes.

3. Remove Acne

This quick tutorial teaches you how to use the healing tool to quickly remove acne.

4. Apply Makeup

If you are better at Photoshop than applying makeup, then primping post-photo might be more effective than painting your face before the photo. This short video walks through how to change your eye color, lip color, and add a natural blush. Warning: If you don’t like techno music, turn your volume off.

5. Enhance Eyes

Want movie star photo eyes? Then use movie star Photoshop techniques: This technique uses the curve tools to brighten your irises and creates a mock pupil.

6. Soften Skin

If you finish the easy acne removal tutorial and still aren’t satisfied, these techniques for improving the appearance of your skin should do the trick. The tutorial walks you through three different types of blur techniques so that you can decide which you like best.

7. Whiten Teeth

If you care about your teeth, but not enough to undergo an expensive dental procedure, this tutorial is for you. Simply lasso your pearly whites and adjust their color via curves.

8. Add a Tattoo

If you are trying to give your mother a heart attack or pretend that you are tougher than you really are, it might be easier to learn how to put a tattoo on a picture than to actually sit through the needle-intensive process. This tutorial will teach you how to make it look realistic. Because there is nothing worse than a cheesy-looking, fake tattoo.


Thursday, October 14, 2010

4 Game-Changing Trends in Web App Design

Web applications are one of the greatest revelations of the Internet. It’s a development that is largely specific to the Web 2.0 era, but their significance will be in effect for generations.

The web app is a signifier of a fundamental shift in computing. It’s representative of the cloud and our newfound ability to decentralize our technical lives and spread ourselves across desktop computers, mobile devices and pretty much anything else connected to the Internet.

But web apps are driven by trends, and trends move fast. So if you’re slaving away on a mobile app, here are four trends that you might want to consider before coding yourself into irrelevance.

1. Location

It’s not that location started with Foursquare, but it took Foursquare’s simple badge system to make the world pay attention. If your web app isn’t location aware, people are far less likely to be aware of it. With web juggernauts like Facebook launching Places and Google shifting product rockstar Marissa Mayer to location and local services, it’s safe to bet on geolocation.

These days, it’s easier than ever to to make your app location aware. HTML5 features a native location protocol (try finding yourself with an HTML5-compliant browser), and with a few easy lines of JavaScript, your app can be pegging latitudes and longitudes in no time. And, according to SimpleGeo’s Andrew Mager, HTML5’s location protocol is doubly useful for mobile web apps, because it doesn’t hog battery resources by constantly running GPS.

2. Data Portability

Internet dwellers have railed against the classic walled gardens of the web for years. It stands to reason then, that as we entered the Web 2.0 era, developers should have been prepared for this. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case and, while your data is your data, there was a long period where you could only use it in the place it was created.

Now, there has been a gradual shift toward portability and many of the once guilty parties are taking steps to enable you to take your data with you wherever you choose. Services like Posterous have strongly pushed the envelope here in getting developers to ease up, but those initiatives were still, in several cases, stonewalled.

It wasn’t until October 6, when Facebook got hip to data portability, that this became a true trend. That announcement should be considered a death knell to any web app hoping to make a buck while keeping user data proprietary.

3. Mobility

It’s happening so fast that it’s hard to see the lines beginning to blur, but web apps and mobile apps are becoming indistinguishable from one another. Sure you can install an app on your Android or iOS device, but some of the best mobile implementations have avoided coding unique apps and focused on the mobile functionality of their web apps.

Perhaps the most shining example of this transition is Shaun Inman’s Fever. This RSS reader installs directly on your web server and is arguably the best RSS reader on the face of the planet. It’s also fully functional on most modern mobile devices by simply visiting the same URL that you’ve set the reader up on. No extra lifting, just one unified experience.

4. HTML5

It might not be completely ready for primetime yet, but if you’re not preparing for HTML5, you’re preparing for obsolescence. Incorporating features that make many of the oldest bastions of web plugins redundant, HTML5 is the future of the web. Video playback, geolocation, drag-and-drop media and more are all built-in.

When the the World Wide Web Consortium finally ratifies the HTML5 standard, you’ll probably start hearing more talk of Web 3.0 than you can possibly stand.

These four trends are some of the biggest ones in the web app world right now. Add your own thoughts on trends that are revolutionizing the way we create and use web apps in the comments below.


Top 5 Developer Questions About HTML5 Answered

HTML Questions Image

Paul Gubbay is vice president of engineering for design and web at Adobe. He has spent the past 25 years working in the software industry with a specialized focus on creative and web professional tooling and solutions.
There’s been a lot of talk lately about HTML5 and confusion about what it is, what can be done with it today, the best way to learn it, etc.
With so much hype in the marketplace, I wanted to tackle the questions we hear most from creative professionals who want to take advantage of HTML5 but are unsure about how to get started.

1. What is HTML5?

In its simplest form, HTML5 is the evolution of HTML. Interestingly, it has become a “catch all” term for many technologies that can move the web forward, including CSS3, SVG and Canvas. What it offers most web professionals is a new set of functionality for creating richer interactivity for websites and applications across multiple screens. Due to the adoption of WebKit on mobile devices, HTML5 is gaining a lot of traction around smartphone and tablet development. In its early days, HTML5 will feel incremental in terms of how users can take advantage of it. But as the ecosystem evolves, frameworks and tooling will enable web professionals to create a new world of interesting experiences including applications that are accessible on a variety of devices.

2. Can I Use HTML5 Even if Users Have Outdated Browsers?

Although HTML5 is still in its infancy, there are several ways users can employ new language elements while ensuring that content degrades gracefully on unsupported browsers. There are plenty of articles on the web that discuss these techniques. For example:
  • Developers can work conceptually with new structural elements such as Header or Footer by creating classes with the same name and attaching them to divs within a user’s page.
  • You can take it a step further by using the new HTML5 elements today with a combination of JavaScript and some CSS to ensure compatibility with older browsers.
  • Developers can leverage JavaScript libraries such as Modernizr that take advantage of emerging technologies (HTML5, CSS3) while providing control over older browsers that may not support this functionality.
  • Developers can use HTML5 forms with new Input elements and types to provide richer functionality on modern browsers that support them with no penalty on older browsers where they will degrade gracefully to text inputs.
Of course if you are just targeting mobile browsers, you can take advantage of many more HTML5/CSS3 features. The mobile browsers that are primarily based on WebKit provide a lot more support, although there are still some inconsistencies across different implementations.

3. What Should Designers and Developers Learn First?

Developers should start incrementally by expanding their skills with technologies they already understand. Leveraging new functionality in CSS3 is a great place to begin. I also recommend following blogs to stay on top of what’s going on and keeping an eye on the different JavaScript frameworks that are springing up. There is a lot of innovation happening around mobile frameworks and runtimes right now. Some good resources to watch include:
Developers should also make sure they keep in mind the platforms they are building for, because the gating factor right now is browser support.

4. Am I Behind the Times?

9 Elements HTML5 Canvas

Hype about a particular technology can often lead to designers and developers feeling like they’re behind the curve, but that just isn’t true with HTML5. While there are some really cool examples out there today, in reality it is a much smaller subset of web developers that can create them, and the content works on an even smaller subset of devices.
There are significant hurdles to face when developing for devices, in addition to the typical cross-browser desktop compatibility issues everybody experiences. How do you take advantage of hardware acceleration? How do you take advantage of device APIs (e.g. touch, geolocation, offline cache, etc.)? What do you do when device APIs are not consistently accessible through the browser implementations?
Look for JavaScript frameworks and tools that can abstract across these differences and provide a set of building blocks that work consistently across the devices you are targeting. While there are many exciting capabilities being made available, most users will need to be pragmatic in their approach.

5. Why the Wait?

The gating factors right now for the widespread adoption of HTML5 are the browser vendors and the HTML5/CSS3 specification. Similar to the browser wars in the early days of the web, there is a significant amount of innovation happening within the browsers themselves. WebKit is becoming the predominant browser for mobile devices, but there are multiple implementations. Firefox and Chrome continue to push the boundaries on the desktop, with IE9 now joining the race with deeper support for HTML5/CSS3. While fast innovation is good news for web pros, it also creates inconsistency. This is where the Spec comes into play. The Spec drives the standard that all browsers need to adhere to. However, the Spec will not be ratified for many years.
Most web pros will be well served by standardizing on frameworks and tooling that can help them take advantage of the new functionality while degrading gracefully on the browsers that are still behind. Sites such as HTML5 Readiness can give users insight into what is and isn’t supported across Browsers.

What Is Adobe’s Stance on HTML5?

This is a question we get a lot at Adobe. As the current landscape continues to evolve rapidly, we believe people will benefit from implementing a hybrid strategy where Flash and HTML5 technologies are both utilized depending on the business need. For instance, if you are building an enterprise RIA with a multi-function team that needs a strong development framework, ubiquity across devices, and one vendor behind the technology, then Flash makes a lot of sense. If you are building a dynamic website that targets desktop, tablet and mobile, then HTML5/CSS3 is likely the right technology. In short, there will be places where HTML5 makes the most sense and provides basic interactivity, but there will always be a place for richer interaction and guaranteed consistency, and that’s where Adobe feels that Flash technology excels.


There’s no question that designers and developers should familiarize themselves with HTML5, learn what capabilities are currently supported, and, most importantly, where those capabilities are available based on the audiences they’re trying to target. Users shouldn’t make the mistake of falling in love with a particular site element and charging ahead only to find out that it doesn’t work at all in a browser that matters to their customer.
These are exciting times for designers and developers. We have some great challenges and opportunities in front of us that will have a huge impact on the future of the web. I can’t wait.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Google Just Lost a Potential Ally in its Legal Tussle with Oracle

Google Just Lost a Potential Ally in its Legal Tussle with Oracle: "

The battle between Oracle and Google over Android’s use of Java just got a lot more interesting. That’s because IBM has announced that it will be collaborating with Oracle to work on the OpenJDK project.
This means that IBM will no longer be part of the Apache Software Foundation’s Project Harmony, the project that provides Android with the components it needs to run Java code. With IBM leaving the project, Harmony is basically dead in the water.
Although Android wasn’t mentioned in the announcement, this is all interrelated to the Oracle lawsuit. Google responded to the lawsuit last week, claiming that Oracle, which got Java out of its purchase of Sun Microsystems, was acting in bad faith.
For the non-Java savvy out there, here’s an abbreviated rundown of how and why all of this stuff matters:
Apache Harmony is an open source implementation of Java. The goal in creating the project was to unite all of the various free software Java implementations together under one banner.
The project had a lot of early support, the only problem was that Sun (and then Oracle) never offered the project with a Technology Compatibility Kit (TCK). The TCK is needed to prove that Harmony is compatible with the Java specification and can be seen as a certified Java independent version of Java. When Sun first open sourced aspects of Java in 2007, it said it would provide the Apache Foundation with the necessary TCK for certification.
Sun never made good on those assurances and when Oracle took over Sun, the new company wasn’t interested in sharing the TCKs, instead wanting to focus all of its efforts on the officially sanctioned open source Java implementation, OpenJDK.
IBM’s Bob Sutor discussed the decision on his blog, writing:
“We think this is the pragmatic choice. It became clear to us that first Sun and then Oracle were never planning to make the important test and certification tests for Java, the Java SE TCK, available to Apache. We disagreed with this choice, but it was not ours to make. So rather than continue to drive Harmony as an unofficial and uncertified Java effort, we decided to shift direction and put our efforts into OpenJDK. Our involvement will not be casual as we plan to hold leadership positions and, with the other members of the community, fully expect to have a strong say in how the project is managed and in which technical direction it goes.”
This is a big blow to the Harmony project and by extension, to the libraries and classes that Android implements from Harmony in Android. Without big backing like IBM behind the project, it’s not likely to survive.
For now, the Harmony implementation of Java is fine. The problem will be when future versions of Java are released and Harmony can’t keep up in terms of features.
In Java, staying compatible is key. Interestingly, InfoWorld notes that Google has more developers working on OpenJDK than Oracle. So why choose Harmony for Android?
We think it’s because Google wanted to do an end-run around Sun’s licensing requirements. In essence, getting to take advantage of Java SE on mobile devices (something that Sun explicitly forbade without a license), but not having to pay for it.
Long before Sun’s sale to Oracle, others pointed out the potential licensing and IP quagmire that Google was entering with Android. The reality was, Sun didn’t have the power, the funds or the industry clout to really do anything about it.
Oracle does. In fact, Oracle’s clout and power is underscored by IBM’s decision to join up. IBM may be making its decisions for pragmatic reasons, but in the decision shows that IBM is not willing to side with Google in this elongated fight.
At this point, Google’s only real recourse is to sensibly settle and pay Oracle, or countersue and drag the fight out even longer. By fighting back, Google risks alienating its Java-base of developers.
While we question how important having a strong base of Java developers really is to Android’s success in the long term, it doesn’t mean it’s worth risking the future developments of the platform on a legal gamble.
Oracle is out for blood and IBM just provided the syringe.

Yahoo Messenger with Video Chat Comes to iPhone

Yahoo Messenger with Video Chat Comes to iPhone: "

Remember that iPhone Messenger app with video calls that Yahoo promised us late last week? Well, it’s now live in Apple’s App Store.
The new version of Yahoo Messenger enables users to make video calls and stream live video one-to-one over 3G or Wi-Fi. What makes the app really interesting is the ability to establish a video call between an iPhone and an Android device (provided it has a front-facing camera) or between an iPhone and a PC.
You can also make free voice calls to your Yahoo Messenger friends, as well as low-cost international calls with your Yahoo Voice Phone Out account. Unfortunately, this last bit is available only to users in the U.S., France, Germany, Spain and Singapore.
Finally, the new version now supports multitasking, meaning you can work on other tasks on your iPhone while the app happily runs in the background.
The app is available for free in the iTunes store.

“The Sims 3″ and Other EA Games Headed for Windows Phone 7

“The Sims 3″ and Other EA Games Headed for Windows Phone 7: "

EA, one of the biggest video game publishers in the world, will support Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7 mobile phone platform with Xbox Live-enabled games starting this year.
The first titles EA Mobile has announced include The Sims 3, Tetris, Monopoly and Need for Speed Undercover.
All of these franchises appear on existing mobile platforms so the content isn’t exclusive, but Windows Phone 7 owners will have the advantage of the Xbox Live online gaming network. Though Apple has begun offering something similar with Game Center, it’s arguably the most unique feature about Windows Phone 7 and it will make the platform more appealing to game developers and gamers.
All of EA’s games will support Xbox Live Achievements — special badges and goals awarded for accomplishing in-game tasks. The Achievements will add to your gamerscore, which is shared between Windows Phone 7, Games for Windows and Xbox 360 games.
Windows Phone 7 is a slick mobile operating system, but even as it was launched today, the perceived wild card was developer support. To compete with the iPhone and Android, Windows Phone 7 will need a strong library of third-party apps and games.
This weekend, Microsoft was caught using graphics from Rovio’s Angry Birds to promote Windows phones. Angry Birds is one of the most popular mobile games in the world right now, but Rovio was quick to tweet that it has not committed to supporting the platform — a potential blow to developer perceptions.
Rovio went on to say that it will support “all relevant platforms” moving forward, so if Microsoft plays its cards right, Rovio games on Windows Phone 7 aren’t of the question.

Twitter Prepping Ad Product for Small Businesses

Twitter Prepping Ad Product for Small Businesses: "

With Twitter’s ad-based business model now evolving on what seems like an almost daily basis, the company has revealed plans for a big new target: small businesses.
In an article published by The New York Times on Monday, recently promoted Twitter CEO Dick Costolo says the company, “would offer a self-serve tool for local businesses to buy Twitter ads, and is working on ways to deliver those ads based on location,” starting next year.
While that’s not much of a surprise -– a self-service model for smaller advertisers has long been assumed while the company tests its various ad formats with big brands –- the possibilities are considerably more interesting given the way Twitter has evolved in recent months.
For starters, the company now has its own mobile apps on most major platforms, giving it a much bigger footprint to serve location-based ads to users than when “Promoted Tweets” were first announced. It also has additional ad formats like “Promoted Accounts” that make a lot of sense when applied to the local market. Ads can also now be syndicated to third-party apps, meaning Twitter will soon be able to reach nearly 100% of its users with ads.
The New York Times indicates that local businesses would be able to use “clues like whether someone follows a bunch of restaurants in a particular city,” to serve relevant small business ads – an algorithmic approach not dissimilar to what Twitter is already doing for the big brand Promoted Accounts ads.
Such a model also gives Twitter something it’s lacked so far in its advertising business: scale. While the company is reportedly fetching upwards of $100,000 from some of its big brand advertisers for Promoted Tweets, a self-service model opens up the platform to tens of thousands of businesses already using Twitter. In turn, it evolves the company’s business model into something far more robust that more closely resembles that of Google or Facebook.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Ubuntu 10.10 Improves Your Linux Desktop Experience [Screenshot Tour]

Ubuntu 10.10 Improves Your Linux Desktop Experience [Screenshot Tour]: "

From the install screen to a fully loaded desktop, Ubuntu 10.10 looks nicer and is easier to use than its predecessors. We’ll take a look at our favorite new features in Ubuntu’s newest version, appropriately released on 10/10/10.

The Ubuntu Font Debuts

Ubuntu 10.10 is the first version of Ubuntu to come with the Ubuntu font family, and it uses it for many user interface elements by default.


If you’ve been using Ubuntu for any length of time, the change is immediately noticeable. In our opinion, it’s a very positive change, but if you prefer the old font, you can change back to the Sans font in System > Preferences > Appearance.


Email, Chat and Microblogging Are Integrated Well

If you’re like us, you’ve been slowly moving from desktop apps to doing everything in your web browser. 10.10 refines the work that 10.04 started in integrating email, chat, and microblogging into the Ubuntu desktop – and it’s good enough that we’re switching back to desktop apps.


The mail icon in the top panel provides a central location for notifications from Evolution, Empathy and Gwibber. If you don’t use these apps for email, chat, and microblogging, this improved Ubuntu integration may be reason enough to switch.

The Software Center is Better Organized, Offers For-Pay Software

The software center has been improved all around. The first thing you’ll notice is a new section for featured and new software packages.


You will also see a few new entries in the list on the left. One is History, giving you a detailed list of the packages you’ve installed or upgraded.


Another new entry is For Purchase software. Right now there’s only one piece of software to buy, but we’re interested to see if this new avenue for selling Linux apps spurs new development from companies that have stayed away from Linux in the past.


The Installer is Simpler and Faster

Note: The installer shown is from the 10.10 Release Candidate. It should be functionally the same as the final 10.10 installer, though the final version may be updated to use the Ubuntu font.

There have been a few small but extremely useful changes to the installer on the Ubuntu CD. The first is a set of checkboxes that can greatly speed up the computer set-up process by doing some common tasks that you usually have to do manually after your system has finished installing.


The second and most impressive change is that the system will actually start the installation process while you go through the tedious steps of setting your time zone, main user account, and so on.


We did experience some slowdown when trying to fill out some of these screens, but once we finished filling them out, the system had already almost finished installing. Why hasn’t anyone thought of this before?

Other New Additions

While those are the new features we think are the most exciting, there are many other minor additions and changes.

The Update Manager now shows displays a short description more prominently than the actual package name.


If you’re playing music with Rhythmbox, song information and simple controls are available in the volume control applet in the top panel.


Shotwell is now the default application for organizing and making simple changes to photos, replacing F-Spot.


And, of course, many software packages have been updated to more recent versions.

What’s your favorite new feature of Ubuntu 10.10? If you already use 10.04, are these changes enough to get you to upgrade? Let us know in the comments!

Download Ubuntu 10.10

Friday, October 8, 2010

Motorola Defies the Elements with New Android Device [VIDEO]

Motorola Defies the Elements with New Android Device [VIDEO]: "

The Motorola Defy is one of the first rugged mobile devices that doesn’t sacrifice performance. Its durable shell is capable of deflecting drops, scratches and water. It also packs a decent hardware set, complete with a 3.7-inch touchscreen, an 800Mhz processor and a 5-megapixel camera, along with standards like GPS, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth.
Many devices that claim to resist the elements simply don’t. I know this because there are people in my life who are capable of destroying mobile devices like nobody’s business (Direct quote: “I’ve spilled water on my phone dozens of times, I don’t understand how it could break after dropping it in the toilet once.”) Most of the devices able to withstand this abuse, however, are bulky, offer little beyond basic phone functionality and sell for prohibitively expensive rates.
I was skeptical when we first reported on the Motorola Defy, but the video below validates its claims of durability.
Although Defy doesn’t run the latest version of Android (it runs Android 2.1), it promises to be better than virtually any other rugged mobile device that’s currently on the market. The price for the phone, which is scheduled to launch in Europe by the end of the year, has not yet been disclosed.


IronRuby is a Open Source implementation of the Ruby programming language for .NET, heavily relying on Microsoft's Dynamic Language Runtime.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

4 Digital Alternatives to the Traditional Resume

Digital Resume Image

This post originally appeared on the American Express OPEN Forum, where Mashable regularly contributes articles about leveraging social media and technology in small business.

Even small business owners need a resume. It serves to provide a summary of professional experience and isn’t just used for job searching. Many times, a resume can serve as a way to land a piece of business, speaking gig or board position. So it’s important to always have a resume that’s ready to go on a moment’s notice.

Penelope Trunk, chief evangelist and co-founder of Brazen Careerist, a career management tool for young professionals, points out that “a traditional resume is necessarily linear. But careers today are nonlinear.

“People often do more than one job at once, people often learn more in between jobs than during a job,” Trunk said. “Therefore, a resume based on ideas and conversations is a more accurate representation of today’s worker than a resume based on linear histories.”

Today’s business owners are involved in much more than running the business. So in addition to the traditional paper resume, there are some other ways to convey a summary of your experience and knowledge. Depending on your situation, you might want to explore one or all of the following options, including video resumes, VisualCVs, social resumes and LinkedIn profiles.

1. Video Resumes

Video resumes have recently emerged as a new option. Making a value-added video can be tricky business — it’s important to ensure the finished product conveys the right message about you as a professional. A video resume could be a part of an overall portfolio management strategy; however, having a video resume does not cancel out other options. In fact, a video resume can act to enhance your online presence in the likely case that a potential customer is searching for your information across the web.

Laurie Ruettimann, founder of Voice of HR, whose mission is to facilitate active and meaningful dialogue in the HR industry via new media services, compares resume strategy to investments. “Just as investors diversify their investments, individuals must diversify their approach to finding and communicating with potential opportunities.”

Consider adding a video resume to your current professional profiles, but make sure the production quality is up to par and that it accurately portrays your professional experiences and goals.

2. The VisualCV

If you have a lot of work in the digital space, a VisualCV might be an option. This format allows you to pull all types of interactive content into a traditional resume format with additional links to blog posts, Twitter accounts, videos, presentations and so on. You can also add charts and graphs to enhance the look. It serves as a great digital portfolio and can really dress up the traditional resume.

Kris Dunn, a human resources blogger, has used VisualCVs in the past. He recommends them “when two conditions are present: 1) The target company is progressive enough to handle it, and 2) The individual has a great deal of online content that can be referenced within the VisualCV format. Check out Dunn’s VisualCV for a look at what’s possible.

3. The Social Resume

When an explanation of your capabilities is more useful information than your previous experience, a social resume is a dynamic way to convey how you think and communicate by capturing your online conversations. While they might share some of the qualities of a VisualCV, the content in social resumes focuses more on the here and now compared to traditional resumes, which tell people where you have been in the past.

Social resumes can reveal your potential, Trunk says. “Today, 90% of people’s communication is via social media and only 10% is via e-mail. A social resume is a way to show people what you’re doing that is independent of what you are paid to do,” she says. “We should not limit our potential by what someone has chosen to pay us to do. We should limit our potential by what we can think to do.”

4. Your LinkedIn Profile

If you want to give others a three-dimensional view, providing a LinkedIn URL offers quick, direct access to an individual’s ever-expanding professional network of connections and involvement.

Lori Hedrick, vice president of human resources at Marcus Thomas, a full-service, integrated advertising and public relations agency with a focus on audience insights and idea generation, suggests just using your LinkedIn profile instead of a paper resume.

“Overall, it provides the same format as a resume, yet it’s much more powerful and much more efficient. It shows contacts, recommendations and groups — even books you’re currently enjoying — and all in real time. And [it] provides a thoughtful, truthful and smart summary of our credentials, as opposed to time spent finding the perfect font, format and layout. Not to mention, it’s easy to both update and share with others.”

Technology and new opportunities provide a number of ways to present your resume. At one time, the only method was via a paper resume, though they’re obviously still out there and used quite often. While it might be good to maintain the traditional format, some of these other options can also make sense. If you do need to provide a traditional resume, be sure to keep it up to date and make sure you can access it quickly by keeping a copy on your favorite file storage app (like GoDocs, Dropbox or

Whether you’re looking to enhance your presence in the business community or hiring new staff, there are more options than just the traditional paper resume. And when it comes to evaluating resumes, Ruettimann offers some great advice for everyone: “Resumes of any kind – video, paper, written in the sky by a plane – are a snapshot into a person’s abilities. Be sold on a person’s skills. Don’t be swayed by the style in which those skills are communicated.