Friday, 31 December 2010

Adblock Plus for Chrome now available

We told you it was coming soon, but we didn't know precisely how soon: Wadlimir Palant has already pushed the first beta version of Adblock Plus for Google Chrome. It was just four days ago that TechCrunch reported that Palant had changed his mind about never releasing a Chrome port -- citing reasons like not wanting to maintain two unrelated projects and the availability of capable alternatives like AdThwart.

That's all changed, however, and AdThwart has become the foundation of Adblock Plus for Chrome. The first release includes improved filters, updated code to bring the extension more inline with its Firefox cousin, and better XHTML support.

Those of you who already had AdThwart installed should be automatically updated, and new users can install ABP from the Chrome Extensions Gallery.

Adblock Plus for Chrome now available originally appeared on Download Squad on Tue, 21 Dec 2010 10:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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20+ essential programs for your new Windows computer

Our regular readers can probably rattle off a list of their 20 favorite apps without breaking a sweat -- as the comments on this post will no doubt prove. But for our less in-the-know friends, family, and co-workers, it can be challenging to figure out where to download high quality programs that actually do what they need them to do.

We've put together an assortment that will help you hit the ground running with your new Windows PC. If you've got your own suggestions to add, feel free to post them in the comments.

Now let's take the jump and check out the apps!

Continue reading 20+ essential programs for your new Windows computer

20+ essential programs for your new Windows computer originally appeared on Download Squad on Thu, 23 Dec 2010 15:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Toast the new year with a virtual glass of booze on your iPhone (or iPad!)

IKEA, the lord of bland, cheap, spruce and spartan Scandinavian furniture, has released a toasting app just in time for New Year's Eve. Pick from the huge range of glasses and drinks, and enjoy a virtual toast!

The app, which is called Skål!, or "Cheers!" in English, has a neat trick up its sleeve: it uses the rear-facing camera to create a backdrop for your virtual drink. Then, as you drink from your iPhone (or iPad, or iPod touch), the drink, its contents and the background rotate to complete the illusion. You can even save a copy of the scene, if you're the kind of person that likes to keep mementos.

The app is free, which makes this our top pick for both saving money and preventing any cataclysmic chundering this New Year's Eve.

If you need further convincing of just how awesome this app is, there's a cute video of it in action after the break.

[If you manage to take a photo of yourself drinking a massive stein of virtual beer on your iPad, please leave a link in the comments. -- Update: forget that, the iPad doesn't have a camera!]

Continue reading Toast the new year with a virtual glass of booze on your iPhone (or iPad!)

Toast the new year with a virtual glass of booze on your iPhone (or iPad!) originally appeared on Download Squad on Fri, 31 Dec 2010 07:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Kodachrome film is seriously at the end of its life -- again

Kodachrome film is iconic enough that there have now been several 'goodbye, Kodachrome' news stories, and we just couldn't resist one more. This time, our tale is of Dwayne's Photo in Parsons, Kansas (which we've had occasion to reference once before), a film processing store which has the distinction of being the final place to accept Kodachrome for development. The problem? The store has been flooded with packages of undeveloped film from all over the world as the window for its processing comes to an end. It turns out that having that distinction will get you hundreds of rolls of film a day, and Dwayne's Photo said that it would not process any films that arrived after Thursday. Yes, that was yesterday, though the mail is undoubtedly still arriving.

Kodachrome film is seriously at the end of its life -- again originally appeared on Engadget on Fri, 31 Dec 2010 13:45:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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[Rumor] HTC Thunderbolt specs? Or just a dream made of unicorn blood?

Thunderbolt specs?

Stop what you're doing, take a second and click the picture you see above.  If you're reading on your phone, run to a computer -- you want to see this.  Supposedly these are the specs for the European version of the HTC Thunderbolt, and they are amazing.  Almost too amazing.  According to HTCInside.de (a German HTC blog and fansite), the Thunderbolt will be released with the Qualcomm MSM8960 dual-core processor clocked at 1.2 GHz, Gingerbread, an 8MP rear camera and 5MP front camera, and support for 128GB SDXC cards.

Is it real? Heck, we don't know, and honestly, none of us thinks these specs are right.  But we offer it as-is, for you guys to dissect in the Thunderbolt forums.  Just don't go blaming us if your heart gets broken. [HTCInside.de (German) via Pocketnow]

[Rumor] HTC Thunderbolt specs? Or just a dream made of unicorn blood? posted originally by Android Central

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Top 10 iPhone and iPad stories of 2010

Top 10 iPhone and iPad stories of 2010 Top 10 iPhone and iPad stories of 2010 is a headline about headlines that should come with a spoiler warning. The mere fact we had to include the word iPad this year spills the beans on the biggest story of the last 12 months. But it wasn’t the only big story — far from it. [...]

Top 10 iPhone and iPad stories of 2010 is a story by TiPb. This feed is sponsored by The iPhone Blog Store.

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RunKeeper Pro free until the end of January

RunKeeper Pro has been made available to everyone for free today. The offer lasts until the end of January 2011 so don?t delay, go and grab yourself a copy of this fantastic app for free. In an effort to encourage more people to get off the couch, and as a show of appreciation to the RunKeeper [...]

RunKeeper Pro free until the end of January is a story by TiPb. This feed is sponsored by The iPhone Blog Store.

TiPb - The #1 iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch Blog

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Adblock Plus for Chrome coming soon

AdBlock Plus
Adblock is already available for Chrome, and is working very well for us so far. But now Adblock Plus, of Firefox fame, may be joining making the jump to Google's browser platform.

AdBlock Plus' developer, Wladimir Palant, has had lots of time to convert the extension; after all, Chrome isn't exactly new. But so far, Palant has been reluctant to do the porting, due to the amount of work required and Chrome's limited blocking capabilities. Times have changed however, as according to TechCrunch, Adblock Plus is on its way. It won't be a complete re-write apparently, but based on an existing extension called AdThwart.

From an end user's point of view, having Adblock Plus for Chrome might not make a huge difference. After all, the existing options for Chrome do get the job done. But when you step back and look at the big picture, this is one more indication of the rapid rise of Chrome as a browser platform, and now, an OS.

Adblock Plus for Chrome coming soon originally appeared on Download Squad on Fri, 17 Dec 2010 06:15:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Skype outage caused by server overload, bug in Windows client

Now that Skype has recovered from the serious worldwide outage on December 22nd, CIO Lars Rabbe has blogged about what went wrong behind the scenes. The problem began when a group servers that handle Skype's offline instant messaging became overloaded, in turn causing some Skype clients to receive delayed responses and crash.

The bug only affected users of version 5.0.0.152 on Windows -- unfortunately, almost 50% of Skype's users happened to be running that version. Included among those were more than a quarter of Skype's supernodes. As those supernodes failed, an increased load was placed on the remaining supernodes. The increased load coupled with a flood of users attempting to reconnect eventually caused Skype's network to collapse under the weight of traffic that was 100 times greater than normal.

In order to prevent future outages, Skype is looking closely at their process for testing and deploying new versions and Rabbe also promised increased investment to boost capacity and reliability.

Skype outage caused by server overload, bug in Windows client originally appeared on Download Squad on Wed, 29 Dec 2010 11:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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iPad Soon To Go On Sale In 9 More Countries

Most people around the globe have heard of the iPad by now, even in areas where it’s not yet being sold. The iPad no longer needs an introduction but it will become available in 9 more countries this Friday. Apple’s trend setting gadget, tablet computer, or whatever you’d like to refer to it as, is [...]

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O Canada! World?s Most Web Connected Land

According to a recent comScore report, Canada has beaten out the US, the UK, France, and everyone else in the world in various metrics relating to broadband and internet use. While the conspicuous absence of the likes of Sweden, a perennial leader in these categories, fills me with suspicion, the numbers are still fun, and slightly surprising. One statistic calculated to both please and terrify is that, by comScore's measurements, just over half the population of Canada is on Facebook. That amounts to about 16 million people — a drop in the bucket with Facebook's user base — but it's the proportion that matters. US usage is around 40% by some estimates, which is of course significant, but it's fun that Canada has passed us up in this race. I'm guessing it has something to do with the weather up there.

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Million-Volt Zap Cane Is Like Real-World Lightsaber

Owning the Zap Cane is about as close as you’ll ever get to being Yoda, combining walking-stick and Lightsaber into one ugly but effective package. The cane is adjustable between 32 and 36-inches (still too high for Dagobah’s favorite Jedi master) for when you’re hobbling around, trying to teach that lazy, whining Skywalker kid to [...]

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Thursday, 30 December 2010

The Best Shooting Challenges of the Year [Bestof2010]

This was a phenomenal year of Shooting Challenges. Your submissions were as beautiful as they were plentiful. Check out some of the best user-submitted images of 2010. More »


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Firefox 4 may be getting tabs in title bar option

So much for Firefox 4 already being feature-frozen! It now looks as though several additional changes may land before the final release of Firefox 4 lands in early 2011. Among them: tabs in the title bar.

As with Google Chrome, your tabs will only move to the topmost area of the window when maximized. The feature has yet to be delivered to the Firefox 4 nightly builds, but you can download experimental versions from developer Bill Gianopoulos. Windows and Linux versions are available at the moment. Gianopoulos states "These builds are essentially the same as the corresponding Official Trunk Nightly Builds" but notes that his builds include "not yet landed fixes for some MathML issues, and User Interface changes planned for Firefox 4, as well as bugs that I am currently working on or find particularly annoying."

Firefox 4 may be getting tabs in title bar option originally appeared on Download Squad on Wed, 29 Dec 2010 12:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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The Best Image Caches of the Year [Bestof2010]

This was a good year to be a photographer. Thievery was thwarted, the Simpsons were spoofed, and suspicious amp stacks were outed. Take a look at our most eye-popping, jaw-dropping, seal-cropping images of 2010! More »


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Microsoft nerd reverse engineers Christmas lights, uses them as IM indicators

Christmas lights as IM indicators
Apparently, even domestic Christmas lights are controlled by computers nowadays, and hopefully, as you all know, that means they're hackable. Andrej Kyselica, a Microsoft employee, took some GE-35 Christmas lights, hooked them into a .NET Micro Framework embedded controller, took another developer's work, developed a driver -- and voila! PC-controlled Christmas lights (video after the break).

In the demo, Andrej uses Microsoft Lync (Office Communications Server) to connect his instant messenger contacts (presumably Live Messenger) to the Christmas lights. The lights then show each contact's current status -- green, yellow and red -- or he can manually set them as 'out of the office', which is a rather pretty purple color. If the light is off, nobody is home.

While this is a cool hack, it pales in comparison to another computer-controlled Christmas lights experiment, which has been going since 2002: Alek's Controllable Christmas Lights. Alek lets you control over 21,000 lights, and inflate or deflate Elmo, Santa and Homer Simpson.

Continue reading Microsoft nerd reverse engineers Christmas lights, uses them as IM indicators

Microsoft nerd reverse engineers Christmas lights, uses them as IM indicators originally appeared on Download Squad on Wed, 15 Dec 2010 09:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Bing Destinations serves up quick travel info for 3,000 cities worldwide

When you use your favorite search engine to pull up information about a particular city, Microsoft figures there's a decent chance you're thinking about traveling there. To help you research and make a decision faster, Bing has added Destination pages, which provide a one-page snapshot of travel information.

3,000 cities worldwide are supported at the moment, though you'll need to make sure your region is set to United States. To change, simple visit Bing and click on your current country in the top-right corner. The first thing you'll see is a snippet about the city from Frommers, publishers of the popular travel guidebooks. Below that is a three-by-three grid with short range weather, upcoming events, local attractions and news, and relevant photos and videos. The sidebar also displays links to local landmarks like sports arenas, museums, and parks.

Check out the demonstration video to see Destinations in action, or go give it a shot yourself at Bing.com.

Bing Destinations serves up quick travel info for 3,000 cities worldwide originally appeared on Download Squad on Tue, 21 Dec 2010 09:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Pirates Love Daisies is an HTML5 homage to Plants vs Zombies, made by a Flash zealot

Pirates Love Daisies
If you took a specific subsection of plants -- daisies -- and headed down to the Popular Archetypes store to exchange your zombies for pirates, you'd be about 90% of the way to making a tower defense game called Pirates Love Daisies. It's that last 10%, however -- a little flash of brilliance with a soupcon of quirkiness -- that makes the game. In this case, it's HTML5; Plants Love Daisies is one of the most accomplished HTML-CSS-and-JavaScript games to date. With a truly excellent interface, it plays like a mature, latter-generation Flash game, but it retains the svelte efficiency of HTML, with barely a blip on the CPU graph.

If you've never played a tower defense game, now's your chance. Pirates Love Daisies is easy to play, family-friendly, and features a tutorial that walks you through the mechanics of the game. The visual style is nothing short of beautiful (but cute), and the soundscape is excellent. The point, though, is that Pirates Love Daisies is written in HTML5 -- and when you realize those scudding clouds, buzzing flies and droplets of rain are all being rendered by the browser, your mind blows.

That's not to say the game is without issues, though; despite looking the best in Internet Explorer 9 beta 2, it crashed multiple times (see screenshot after the break), and Firefox 4 beta 7 didn't even get past the loading screen. Firefox 4 also had significantly degraded audio, for some reason. Chrome 9 worked just fine, but seemed to use more resources than IE9.

Continue reading Pirates Love Daisies is an HTML5 homage to Plants vs Zombies, made by a Flash zealot

Pirates Love Daisies is an HTML5 homage to Plants vs Zombies, made by a Flash zealot originally appeared on Download Squad on Fri, 17 Dec 2010 12:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Tech Lock Down (TLD) Accessory For iPad

Well here’s a simple, yet interesting and useful iPad accessory. Introducing the Tech Lock Down for iPad, aka TLD. Some of the most simple inventions can be the best ones. This accessory can come in handy for several different businesses. For example the Tech Lock Down would work well in hospitals, banks, hotels and doctor’s [...]

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Asus' CES Tablets to Include Sliding and Detachable Keyboards? [Unconfirmed]

Surprise! Asus maybe has some tablets for CES next week, inadvertently spilled via an apparently errant promotional video. We already knew of the Windows 7-running EP121, but clues about a mysterious 10-inch EP101 with detachable keyboard pique our interest. More »


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