Monday, 28 February 2011

HP Tablet Saves Dr. Dre?s Life In ?I Need A Doctor? Music Video

?I Need A Doctor? is the second single from Dr. Dre's upcoming album Detox, which has been in development, I think, for 400 years. It feel like that anyway. You've seen the Grammy performance, but have you seen the official music video? More importantly, have you seen the blindingly obvious product placement featuring good ol' HP? As Matt and I were just discussing in the official CrunchGear chat room, how bizarre is it to see an HP tablet save Dr. Dre's life? You've got some fantastical floaty semi-transparent manifestation of Skylar Grey, then, out of nowhere, it's an HP tablet. Makes sense. (Fast-forward to 4m15s if you want to skip directly to the tablet.) A fine way to start your week.

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Chomp for Android [App Of The Day]

Searching for apps through the Android Market can be an exercise in hair pulling frustration. Chomp for Android makes finding Android apps a lot easier. More »


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Hyundai Sonata Hybrid was delayed into 2011... by 'virtual engine sound' system

Remember how at the end of last year the US legislature decided to make it mandatory for EVs to churn out an audible noise while in motion? It was all in the name of saving pesky pedestrians from getting in the way of your gliding electro-car, but the new law itself has managed to create a bump in the road for at least one company. Hyundai's Sonata Hybrid was all set to launch in late 2010, equipped with a "virtual engine sound" system that the user could toggle on and off, however the government's request that it be kept permanently on required modifications to the vehicle's wiring harnesses, UI software and user manuals, delaying its debut into late January. These tweaks had to be done "amazingly late in the process," according to Hyundai America CEO John Krafcik, but the delay will at least ensure that all of Hyundai's Sonatas will sound the same. Which is something, we guess.

Hyundai Sonata Hybrid was delayed into 2011... by 'virtual engine sound' system originally appeared on Engadget on Mon, 28 Feb 2011 11:29:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Fisker Karma enters production on March 21st, our future shortly thereafter

It's been a long road for the Karma to reach production, but now it finally has an end in sight: March 21st. That's the date Fisker promises to start rolling its gorgeous PHEV off assembly lines, with deliveries to the first humans to reserve one coming up in April. The price for the 2012 Karma remains a mighty $95,900, though if you ask our brethren over at Autoblog, that's a bunch of pennies well spent. Fisker expects to start producing 1,500 Karmas per month starting in October and to then sell 15,000 a year from 2012 onwards.

Fisker Karma enters production on March 21st, our future shortly thereafter originally appeared on Engadget on Mon, 28 Feb 2011 04:09:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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How to install non-Market applications on Android

android
This week's tips series is all about Android, highlighting some the operating system's built-in utilities, and better ways of getting stuff done. For other technology tips, check our Tips index.

When an Android user wants to install a new application, they usually just fire up the Market app, search for it, and install it with a couple of well-aimed button taps.

There are times, however, when you may want to load a non-Market application. For example, a perfectly good application may get banned from the market, but still be available from its original publisher.

By default, Android doesn't let you install non-Market apps due to the security risks involved (not to imply that the Market is entirely devoid of malicious apps...). To tell Android you're a big boy (or girl) and can take care of yourself, do this:

1) Go to Settings > Applications
2) Check the box next to Unknown sources
3) Confirm that you understand the risks

That's it! You are now free to install any application, even if it didn't come from the market. Just be careful!

How to install non-Market applications on Android originally appeared on Download Squad on Thu, 27 Jan 2011 15:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Balls in Space is an addictive retro platformer -- Time-Waster

ballsinspace
Let me start of by saying there's nothing NSFW about Balls in Space; I mean, not that playing any Flash game is very "safe for work", but Balls in Space isn't NSFW in that way, if you know what I mean (hint hint, nudge nudge, say no more!).

Now that we've got that out of the way, let me tell you about the game: You're a ball. On your own, you can run and jump, and that's about it. But as with good platformers, power-ups abound. Specifically, you collect little balls along the way which you can shoot out at the baddies. The balls don't go in a straight line - they're subject to gravity, and they bounce off walls and barriers.

Another handy power-up is the Ninja, which lets you execute double-jumps. With these (and perhaps a couple of others which I have yet to uncover) you basically need go through the levels, kill the baddies, and get to the door every time. A few minutes into the game you'll find a nice homage to the Mario franchise, too. Quite a fun little game!

Balls in Space is an addictive retro platformer -- Time-Waster originally appeared on Download Squad on Tue, 01 Feb 2011 16:27:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Google Image Search now lets you filter vector-only results

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Google Image Search just got a bit fancier: You can now filter search results to only include SVG files.

SVG files, which stand for Scalable Vector Graphics, are files you can easily edit and change without loss of definition. If you've been following our Corel tutorials, they might have given you some ideas about the power of vector graphics.

Being able to use Google to find such files gives designers a great head-start: Need to use a cat in your artwork? Just find a vector one which looks about right, and modify it for your needs! Anything can be edited - the cat's pose, its proportion, colors, etc.

Searching for these files is very simple: Just tack filetype:svg on to the end of your search, like cat filetype:svg, or go to the sidebar and click Images > SVG files.

Being able to find SVGs so easily also poses a bit of a copyright issue however. Anyone posting SVG files publicly should certainly put in a bit more of an effort to make their terms of use very clear, and anyone using them should heed those terms. Play nice folks!

Google Image Search now lets you filter vector-only results originally appeared on Download Squad on Mon, 14 Feb 2011 04:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Imperfect Balance is a classic physics time waster

imperfectbalance
Imperfect Balance is a very simple game: You have a bunch of blocks on a "stage" in the middle of the screen, and your goal is to make them all fall off.

You do this by using other blocks: There are several blocks you can use on each level; you pick a block and rotate it using A and D (or W and S for finer angles). Once you have it at the angle you want, simply click to drop it. It's not an easy game, despite being simple. You need to drop the right block at the right angle and at the right location -- sometimes that's trivial, but it can be quite daunting too.

The soundtrack is somewhat on the eerie side, but it's not too irritating. All in all, there are certainly worse ways to kill a few minutes.

Imperfect Balance is a classic physics time waster originally appeared on Download Squad on Thu, 10 Feb 2011 17:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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This 5-ton Megatron Tank Was Hand Built By a Man [Tanks]

A Chinese man decided to build Megatron in tank form (from Transformers). So he did it. And it is ridiculously detailed and just brain meltingly awesome. The whole sculpture (that's what he called it) weighs just about 5 tons. [Zcool via Neatorama] More »


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Microsoft announces budget-friendly Lifecam HD-3000 webcam, Comfort and Express mice

Microsoft announces budget-friendly Lifecam HD-3000 webcam, Comfort and Express mice
Digging the 1080p LifeCam Studio but don't feel like spending $100? Or, maybe you don't need all those p's? Microsoft has, for you and you alone, announced the new LifeCam HD-3000. It tops out at 720p but retails for a more palatable $39.95. Also newly announced is a trio of mice, first and most exciting being the $19.95 Express Mouse (above) which, according to Microsoft, has both the looks and the moves. We're not really sure what that means, but it is kind of funky looking with the offset cord your choice of six colors ranging from "Hibiscus Red" to "Dahlia Pink." For those who'd rather stick with something less-flowery there's the Comfort Mouse 3000 for the same price, similar features in a design less likely to stand out in the conference room. Or, cough up another $10 for the $29.95 Comfort Mouse 6000, pictured below. It gives up ambidextrous pretenses in favor of a more form-fitting shape and five whole buttons. Can you handle that many buttons? Yeah, you totally can.

Continue reading Microsoft announces budget-friendly Lifecam HD-3000 webcam, Comfort and Express mice

Microsoft announces budget-friendly Lifecam HD-3000 webcam, Comfort and Express mice originally appeared on Engadget on Sat, 26 Feb 2011 00:39:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

Permalink ChipChick  |  sourceLifeCam, Express Mouse, Comfort Mouse 3000, 6000  | Email this | Comments

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10+ Chrome extensions and Web apps for new users

Chrome extensions logoIt might only be a couple of years old and its extension interface might not be quite as powerful as Firefox's, but in terms of developers, big-name publishers, and sheer numbers, Chrome already has a very healthy ecosystem of add-ons.

When you factor in Chrome's exclusive selection of Web apps, it's even possible to say that Chrome has a wider variety of extensions -- or at least until Mozilla launches its Open Web Apps later in the year.

Still, as always, the problem with add-ons is finding the right ones. You have thousands of add-ons to choose from, and only a handful that are actually worth using. First-time users haven't got a snowball's chance -- unless they read this list of must-have extensions!

But this list of extensions is for converts, too. With massive defections from Internet Explorer and Firefox, Chrome has grown from just a few million users in 2009 to over 120 million at the start of 2011. Firefox users will be especially pleased to find almost every add-on has a comparable extension -- and IE users... well, they'll just be glad to have any extensions at all.

Whether you are looking for helpers or shortcuts, or full-blown Web apps, you will be pleasantly surprised with the variety and power of Chrome's extensions.

Continue reading 10+ Chrome extensions and Web apps for new users

10+ Chrome extensions and Web apps for new users originally appeared on Download Squad on Tue, 22 Feb 2011 15:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Apple adds pattern locking to an iPhone app that you can't have?

The nine-dot pattern lock option is one of those uniquely Android things -- it's been there ever since the G1, and even if you don't personally use it, odds are good that you recognize it. So when we see it on an iPhone -- apparently on an app used by Apple internally -- you can appreciate why we're going to do a double take. What you're looking at here is one of several screens obtained by 9 to 5 Mac, allegedly showing a version of Apple's employee-only AppleConnect app with support for pattern locking to keep prying eyes out. It seems that the app enforces some minimum gesture length to constitute a secure lock -- and considering some of the forensic science going on there, we bet it's gotta be pretty long. Of course, none of these means we'll see the feature show up in an actual iOS build, but the site says that the company's testing the mechanism in other internal tools... and if nothing else, Apple seems to be acknowledging that lock patterns aren't a terrible idea.

[Thanks, Jacob]

Apple adds pattern locking to an iPhone app that you can't have? originally appeared on Engadget on Sun, 27 Feb 2011 21:22:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Sunday, 27 February 2011

ControlCraft is a quick strategy game -- Time-Waster

controlcraft
Take Galcon Fusion, and imagine that instead of planets, you've got "barracks" spewing soldiers. Add funky background music and audio clips such as "Enemy down", "On my way Sir!", and you've got ControlCraft.

You start off the game with one set of "barracks" (a circle, basically - like a planet in Galcon) producing soldiers. There are empty circles on the map, but your enemy is moving fast to capture them. Each circle produces new troops at a given rate, so the more circles you control, the more soldiers you have to send against your enemy.

One interesting twist for ControlCraft is that there are some special barracks: There's a type that gives your soldiers "jet-pack" ability, and one that shoots rays out to destroy incoming units (i.e, the circle "defends itself"), but it doesn't create any units on its own. There's also an "armory" that upgrades your soldiers' weapons, and possibly some other goodies I haven't uncovered yet.

All in all, if you enjoy quick strategy games and like the odd military-themed game, this one's for you.

ControlCraft is a quick strategy game -- Time-Waster originally appeared on Download Squad on Fri, 04 Feb 2011 16:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Your Brain on Cellphones: Effects Present, Consequences Unknown

An issue that periodically makes its way into public discourse -- the impact and possible dangers to brain development and health posed by the ubiquitous use of cellphones -- is being revisited thanks to a newly published scientific study in JAMA. However, rather than offering any definitive answers, the new research, led by Nora D. Volkow of the National Institutes of Health, raises more questions.

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How Thunderbolt Could Hook Up Notebooks With Powerful Peripherals

Intel’s new high-speed port technology is called Thunderbolt. But what is it, exactly?
Think of Thunderbolt (formerly code named “Light Peak”) as two cables in one. One is a fast PCI Express cable for transferring data, and the other is DisplayPort, for driving an external display.
A Thunderbolt cable is capable of delivering data between a computer [...]

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Twitter overhauls its Translation Center, adds Turkish, Indonesian and Russian

First launched in 2009, Twitter has just overhauled its 'gameified' Translation Center. It now has a very shiny UI, and voting on suggested translations or adding your own is easier than ever.

Translating phrases earns you experience points, and ultimately yields level-ups. You don't actually get anything by leveling up -- you just end up at the top of a feel-good leader board. If you're an active translator, though, you do get a badge on your profile page -- and as we all know, except for having wheelbarrows of cash, badges are the single most important metric of social status.

To get started, head on over to the Twitter Translation Center and connect it to your Twitter account. You can choose from a bunch of languages, and your translation services aren't limited to just the Twitter.com website: you can translate the mobile website and iPhone and Android apps, too.

Twitter overhauls its Translation Center, adds Turkish, Indonesian and Russian originally appeared on Download Squad on Tue, 15 Feb 2011 10:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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OS X Lion Will Take Better Care of SSDs with TRIM Support [Blips]

OS X Lion Will Use TRIM commands when dealing with SSDs, which will extend the life of the storage devices found in all MacBook Airs. [HardMac via Cult of Mac] More »


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AOC Aire Black LED-backlit monitors, more of the same, now in black

If this super slim monitor looks familiar, it's for a good reason -- AOC's new Aire Black LED monitors are nearly identical to their white counterparts, save a couple exceptions. As the name suggests, the new monitors are an all black affair, and come in 20-, 22-, and 23-inch iterations. The slender screens also come equipped with a new software feature called Screen+ that allows users to divide the display into four separate work spaces. Other than that, not much is new here -- like the rest of the Aire series, the Aire Black features a 12.7-millimeter-thick screen, with a 16:9 aspect ratio, 50,000,000:1 dynamic contrast, DVI-HDPC input, and five millisecond response time. If you like your monitors skinny, you can get your hands on the ebony displays now for $129 (20 inch), $149 (22 inch), or $179 (23 inch). Full PR after the jump.

Continue reading AOC Aire Black LED-backlit monitors, more of the same, now in black

AOC Aire Black LED-backlit monitors, more of the same, now in black originally appeared on Engadget on Sat, 26 Feb 2011 07:04:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Firefox 4's best restartless add-ons

Unless you've been sleeping under a rock, or in a tent outside the Googleplex with an "I LOVE SCHMIDT" banner, you hopefully know that Firefox 4 supports restartless add-ons, or in developerese: bootstrapped extensions.

Unfortunately, however, the process of converting an existing add-on into a restartless wonder is far from simple. A few months ago, back when the Firefox 4 beta machine really got into the swing of things, the developer of the world's most popular add-on, Adblock Plus, described his laborious and infuriating attempt at making his add-on restartless -- and today, just a few days away from the final Firefox beta, there still isn't a single big-name restartless add-on to be found.

On the flip side, writing new restartless add-ons is a little easier. Uptake amongst developers still seems to be very slow, though. Add-ons for Firefox (AMO) only has about 80 add-ons tagged with 'restartless', and even less with the restartless add-on's SDK, 'jetpack'.

Then, of course, only a few of those add-ons are actually worth using! Read on for our pick of the best Firefox 4 restartless add-ons.

Continue reading Firefox 4's best restartless add-ons

Firefox 4's best restartless add-ons originally appeared on Download Squad on Fri, 18 Feb 2011 11:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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