As expected, Microsoft just announced something called SmartGlass at E3. Less expected? Just how awesome SmartGlass turned out to be. What could have been just an Apple AirPlay imitation, is something more ambitious. Something that could change television forever. But what is it, exactly? It's the lifeline that'll make your dumb TV smart. SmartGlass is an app... SmartGlass is a new app that turns your phone or tablet into another screen for your TV, another controller for a game, a companion feature for a show, a remote control for the Internet and more. More importantly, it'll work with iOS, Android and Windows, so you won't need to buy new hardware to fit into its ecosystem. ...that connects your phone, tablet or computer with your Xbox 360... SmartGlass does more than just push video and audio around. It turns the Xbox 360 into the beating heart of a multi-screen media experience in your living room. A tablet, phone or computer running SmartGlass essentially becomes a second and third screen for your TV. A concrete example: As Game of Thrones was being shown on the TV via Xbox 360, a SmartGlass-enabled tablet displayed a map of Westeros and other relevant information about the show. Content can either be pushed from the tablet/phone/computer to the 360, or from the 360 directly to the TV. SmartGlass connects all of those devices to make content engrossing on multiple levels. Your individual devices don't have to ignore each other, they'll work together to entertain you more. ...and works with games, movies, TV shows and the Internet.. But SmartGlass can be used with more than just movies and TV shows. Microsoft also showed how a gamer could use a tablet as a separate playbook while playing Madden on the Xbox. Even further, Microsoft will finally bring Internet Explorer to the Xbox, with SmartGlass turning your phone into mouse. Sure, it's silly to surf the web on your television with an old and gray keyboard and mouse setup—unless the keyboard and mouse are your phone and tablet. ...to make your living room a lot smarter... Microsoft very clearly wants to make the Xbox 360 the center of your living room transformation. It's the hub that powers everything. But if the Xbox 360 is the heart and the brain, SmartGlass gives users the limbs needed for a full functional, self-sufficient media beast. Combined with the Xbox's growing dominance as a top-flight streaming box, and you've got yourself a potentially very powerful monster. ...and it's all because of the Xbox. If you think about it, Microsoft's vision of the living room of the future is a throwback to what the company has already known and mastered: the PC. It's smartening up the living room by using the Xbox as the PC, the TV as the monitor, the phone and tablet as the keyboard and mouse, Kinect as its futureproof wild card technology. SmartGlass, then, plays the role of Windows, seamlessly connecting everything. But the real key to SmartGlass is its openness. Bring your own tools, Microsoft is saying. It doesn't matter. Because however you control it, all that really matters is the Xbox. And that's all Microsoft.
Heres a copy of the blog from Stumbleupon. One of my favorite services/websites, apps.
We’re always looking for new opportunities to bring the surprise-filled Stumbling experience you love to more devices and platforms. Starting today, we are pleased to bring you a great Stumbling experience on Windows 8 Release Preview, available now in the Windows Store. StumbleUpon’s new Metro-style app for Windows 8 Release Preview has been designed to be fast and fluid, touch-optimized, and most of all clean and simple–just like Windows 8. The streamlined, full-screen experience of the Windows Metro-style UI is a terrific way to showcase the immersive experience of Stumbling. The intuitive user controls and virtually boundless Web make it easy to discover new and interesting things. Enjoy hours exploring the parts of the Web most relevant to you simply by selecting the “Stumble!” button on the app bar or by choosing from recommended Stumbles on the home page or when snapped. Great stuff is just a tap or click away.
Enjoy Stumbling recommendations in an immersive Stumbling experience.
With the StumbleUpon app for Windows 8 Release Preview you can: • Stumble seamlessly – Discover great web pages, photos, videos and more in an immersive full-screen experience. • Share with anyone – Share the content you discover with other Stumblers or with people using other Metro-style apps using the Share charm. • View your Likes – Quickly browse through your Likes in a visually rich grid view. • Explore specific interests – Enter a word or phrase using the in Search charm to discover related pages via StumbleUpon’s Explore Box. • Preview Stumbles – You can snap the StumbleUpon app and view recommended Stumbles, even when you’re using another app. • Stay Connected – See recommended Stumbles directly in the StumbleUpon tile before launching the app.
Use the Share charm to share content with other Metro-style apps.
We hope those of you with Windows 8 devices will enjoy exploring the stuff on the Web that matters to you from your Windows PC or tablet. And if you aren’t on a Windows 8 device or haven’t tried our other existing StumbleUpon apps, give our 4.5 star-rated iPhone and iPad app or 4.6 star-rated Android app a try today.
Windows 8 Release Preview has been released to the public and it's actually starting to look a lot better all round. I've had the Developer Preview installed since it was first released last September and was not that excited at all. The Consumer Preview was an improvement but again can't say I was really feeling the love at all. Now we have the new Windows 8 Release in our hot little hands I have to say it's finally getting it's act together. Things are generally more refined and the whole thing is feeling really fast. I'm definitely impressed with the overall speed of the system.
This release fills in many of the missing pieces and offers a much more nuanced picture of what the final release will look like. A lot of people consider the Metro-izing of Windows is a strategic blunder, a franchise killer that deserves a place alongside epic failures like New Coke and Star Wars: Episode 1. But if you’ve managed to retain an open mind about Windows 8, the Release Preview goes a long way toward making sense of Windows 8’s controversial design decisions.
If Windows 8 were being developed like its predecessors, the pace of change would be decelerating rapidly at this point, and reviewers would be focusing on the minutiae of system-level tasks. Instead, Microsoft has quickened the development tempo dramatically. To understand why, you have to look at what makes Windows 8 so fundamentally different from its predecessors. The built-in apps in the Windows 8 Release Preview are way better than those previously released. They actually work ! Here’s a quick summary but it's worth reading the rest of this large article. • The basic Windows 8 interface is essentially unchanged from what we’ve already seen in the Consumer Preview. It’s more polished and subtly refined, with a number of usability tweaks that have already been documented on the Building Windows 8 blog. Anyone who was expecting Microsoft to bring back the Start button will be disappointed. • The Windows Store won’t open for business until the Release Preview bits are publicly available, so I wasn’t able to install or use any third-party Metro style apps in my early testing. During the demo, however, I did see a selection of new Metro style apps that included two slick Twitter clients, a much-improved Amazon Kindle Reader, and a smart-looking Wikipedia app. I also saw numerous examples of apps that use the built-in contracts that are part of the Metro development framework—enabling apps to share data without any custom code. • Microsoft’s new apps make extensive use of Metro features, including live tiles and snapped views, and many individual items can be pinned to the desktop. That makes the Metro style desktop in the Release Preview much less of a collection of brightly colored tiles and more of a continually updated dashboard. That trend is likely to continue with third-party apps. • The Metro style digital media apps—Music, Photos, and Video—are significantly improved from the versions in the Consumer Preview. Windows Media Center has officially been yanked from this release.though we have found it is able to be enabled. See the next page. • The single biggest surprise in the Release Preview is that the Metro style version of Internet Explorer will include support for Microsoft-approved sites that use Adobe Flash. The Flash Player isn’t installed as a plugin but is instead a fully integrated part of the browser, managed and updated by Microsoft.
Windows Media Center is not preinstalled in Windows 8 Release Preview. If you want to use Windows Media Center, you need to add it by following these steps: 1. Swipe in from the right edge of the screen, and then tap Search. (If you’re using a mouse, point to the upper-right corner of the screen, and then click Search.) 2. Enter add features in the search box, and then tap or click Add features to Windows 8. 3. Tap or click I already have a product key. 4. Enter this product key: MBFBV-W3DP2-2MVKN-PJCQD-KKTF7 and then click Next. 5. Select the checkbox to accept the license terms and then click Add features. Your PC will restart and Windows Media Center will now be on your PC and the tile will be pinned to the Start screen. Most of what’s new in the traditional operating system part of Windows 8 is simply polish and refinement of what we’ve seen already. The Consumer Preview was already impressively fast to start, shut down, and switch between apps. This release feels even zippier, although I can’t confirm that with a formal benchmark. You’ll find more color choices in the colors for the Start screen, along with some new default images for the lock screen.
A few usability tweaks to the way hot corners work should deal with grumbling about how those new navigation features work. The Windows 8 design team has added Labels to thumbnails in the Windows key+tab app switcher (as shown here). The Start screen thumbnail in the lower left corner is smaller than in the Consumer Preview, making it less likely that you’ll confuse it with a clickable icon. The behavior of the corners on the right side of the display has changed subtly so that revealing the Charms menu feels less like a task where you have to unlock an achievement. And there are some very big changes to the way multi-monitor setups work, including the ability to view and snap Metro style apps on either screen. (I didn’t have a mini-HDMI adapter so couldn’t test this capability on my review PC.) I was literally delighted by how well one Windows 8 feature worked. I’ve been using the Consumer Preview full time since February, linked to my Microsoft (nee Windows Live) account. As soon as I signed in to the new device with that username and password, all of my settings, including web favorites, background images, and saved passwords were immediately available. My SkyDrive files—documents and photos—were available from the Metro style SkyDrive app immediately, although I had to install the desktop SkyDrive app to sync those files with the local hard disk. Installing that app unlocked a very useful new feature that allowed me to fetch photos directly from another synced device. The Windows desktop showed no major differences. In the interest of eking out a few minutes of additional battery life, especially on underpowered GPUs, Microsoft has removed the glass effects from Aero. Transparency options are still there, but the Vista-style reflections on buttons and other controls are gone. It’s the sort of change you’re unlikely to notice unless you’re looking for it. Other tiny changes are noticeable if you dig very deep. In the Consumer Preview, for example, every Windows Explorer folder included two tiny buttons in the lower right corner to switch between Details and Large Icons view. Those buttons are gone. (Update: Nope, they’re not gone. My account settings, which were synced to the review unit, had the Windows Explorer status bar hidden. When I changed that setting back to show the status bar, the two small icons reappeared.) Similarly, the button in the lower right corner of the Start screen that allows you to zoom out has changed from a magnifying glass icon to a simple minus sign. Internet Explorer 10 maintains its dual personality. Several web sites that had given me compatibility fits in the Consumer Preview displayed properly using the updated IE code in the Release preview. The most intriguing new feature in IE10 is support for some Flash-enabled sites in the Metro style Internet Explorer 10. As Adobe’s Flash Player diagnostic page confirms, this version of IE10 includes the most recent version of Flash Player 11.3 and correctly reports its windows version.
That doesn’t mean you can go to any Flash-powered site and expect it to work. Microsoft is carefully curating the whitelist of apps that can use Flash Player in the Metro style browser and applying it via its own compatibility settings. The most obvious addition is YouTube, which failed on the Consumer Preview but plays properly here. Right-clicking a video clip confirms that it’s using the new Flash Player code. In this release of IE10, the Do Not Track capability is enabled by default. It’s unclear whether websites will voluntarily agree to stop tracking, however. The Samsung Series 9 notebook on which I tested this release doesn’t have a touch screen. It does, however, incorporate a new trackpad design. In combination with some admittedly early (and buggy) drivers, the new hardware design recognizes the swipe gestures that work on a touchscreen—swipe in from the right to expose the Charms menu, swipe from the left to switch between running apps, use multi-touch gestures to scroll up down, and side to side. The new gestures can’t be retrofitted to existing trackpads, unfortunately, because those existing devices don’t have subtle enough edge detection. But the real star of this release, as I mentioned up front, is the greatly improved selection of Metro style apps that are bundled with the Release Preview. In the Developer Preview released last fall, the only Metro style apps were crude prototypes built by summer interns. With the Consumer Preview, Microsoft tossed those apps and included a new collection of more robust “app previews.” In this release, the bundled apps are still called previews, but the difference in quality is striking. I’ve focused extensively on the new apps in the companion screenshot gallery for this post. Here’s a brief overview of what you can expect. Communications The Mail, Calendar, Messaging, and People apps in the Consumer Preview were frankly underwhelming. So it’s remarkable to see how much progress they’ve made in the Release Preview, only 90 days later. All four apps are tied tightly together. You can connect Hotmail, Google, and Exchange accounts, and their contents appear in separate modules (you can selectively exclude items—if you want your Gmail messages to appear in the Mail app but don’t want Google contacts in the People app, that’s your choice). In addition, you can connect Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and other services. When you do, those contacts appear in the People app, which functions as a global address book for Mail and Messaging. Updates from any contact appear in the People app as well, and you can pin any contact to the Start screen, where their updates appear on the live tile. The Mail app sports a traditional three-pane view and is far more versatile than the Consumer Preview version. Using options in the Settings pane, you can configure whether you want an account to be selectively synchronized (just the most recent two weeks’ worth of messages) or fully synched. That distinction neatly reflects the range of devices on which Windows 8 is likely to run, from tablets with limited storage to full PCs with ample hard disks or SSDs.
The effect is very similar to what Microsoft has done with the Windows Phone platform. Hopefully between now and the final release the designers of this app family will borrow more features from that platform, including the ability to manually link contacts from different sources. News, Sports, and Travel Three new showcase apps in the Release preview are tied directly to Microsoft’s Bing search platform. All of them are aggregators, with common designs and navigation features. (They join the Bing-powered Weather and Finance apps, which were in the Consumer Preview. News aggregates stories from nearly 200 sources in 10 categories as well as regional sources. The home page follows the Metro design principles, with a single large image for the cover story and individual stories in rectangular blocks, grouped by category. You can drill down into one of the predefined categories (World News, Technology, Entertainment, and so on). You can also build your own collection of custom topics and let the app gather stories using the search terms you define.
The Sports app follows a nearly identical model, with a different set of sources and an organization by leagues (the exact selection varies by your geography. You can personalize the Sports app to include your favorite teams and then pin those tiles to the Start screen, giving you access to live scores and news (updated every 30 seconds), standings, player rosters, and so on. The Travel app is the most aggressively commercial (and least newsy) of the the three newcomers. It aggregates information from Frommer’s, Fodor’s, and other travel sites to provide a complete overview of travel destinations, complete with some stunning visual panoramas of popular tourist spots. At any point, you can use links to book flights, hotel rooms, and other transactions where, presumably, Microsoft gets a cut. Digital Media If you dig into Windows Explorer, you’ll find that these Metro style apps are still called Zune Music and Zune Video in the Packages folder. But they’re branded as Xbox in the apps themselves. The Music app is promising, although navigating it takes some getting used to. I found it was was able to quickly gather albums and artists from my collection, from both local and network sources, and then play them efficiently. If you have a Zune Pass, as I do, you can search for and play any album that’s available in the 10 million or so in the Zune marketplace.
With the new Music app, there’s no way to separate your collection from the marketplace, and the graphics that play in the background while an album is playing can be incongruous. I wasn’t exactly thrilled to see Justin Bieber and Kelly Clarkson flashing across the screen as I listened to Doc Watson and Wilco. The Photos app brings together pictures from local storage and from online services like SkyDrive and Flickr. I was disappointed to find that in this build the Photos library still doesn’t recognize network locations. And just to confirm what you already suspected: This build does not include Windows Media Center. My review unit didn’t include a DVD drive, but if it had I suspect that it would have been unable to play DVD movies without extra software. Update: Microsoft’s Windows 8 Release Preview FAQ is worth reading. It includes instructions for downloading and enabling Media Center: The Remote Desktop and Xbox Companion apps from the Consumer Preview are MIA in this release. Presumably they’ll be available from the Windows Store at some point. All in all, this is an impressive and surprisingly rich release, largely thanks to the diverse collection of apps it includes. Originally, I thought the choice of name—Release Preview, rather than Release Candidate—was mere semantics. But after seeing this release up close and personal, the name makes perfect sense. This code isn’t finished yet—it will be a few months, no doubt, before it’s released to manufacturing, and then a few months after that before Windows 8 is ready for retail sales. Between now and then, the collection of Metro style apps from third parties should grow substantially, and Microsoft’s own apps should continue to evolve. What you see here is, literally, still just a preview of what’s to come.
Hot on the heels of the new Seas0nPass release we're happy to present to you a brand new version of aTV Flash (black). Version 1.6 adds a bunch of great new features including integrated subtitle downloads, expanded codec support, refined video playback, improved networking, additional translations and a truckload of other improvements and bug fixes. Integrated Subtitle Downloads By popular request we've added one-click subtitle downloads, courtesy of OpenSubtitles.org. Now instead of spending hours searching for the right subtitles they can be easily downloaded right from your Apple TV in a matter of seconds. Check out the screenshots below to see this feature in action.
Need additional subtitles? Just click 'Get More...'.
Choose from thousands of available subtitles. Full Changelog • Added integrated subtitle downloads from OpenSubtitles.org • Added support for purchased iTunes content (matching iTunes login required) • Added video deinterlacing option • Added Wake-on-Lan (WOL) • Added Portuguese (Portugal) translation • Added support for displaying subtitles in lower 'black bar' • Added support for .WTV files • Added support for multiple simultaneous AFP connections • Improved bulk fetching & added automatic artwork caching • Improved automatic downscaling for large thumbnails • Improved metadata reloading for images • Improved buffering over AFP • Resolved various audio synchronization issues • Resolved possible overflow in 5.1 AC3 audio • Resolved issues with zoom for 4:3 movies • Resolved missing audio for .dvr-ms files (ASF containers) • Resolved rare SRT file crash • Resolved issues with slideshow animation • Resolved file specific metadata fetching issues • Resolved rare ISO file crashes • Resolved issue with displaying identical thumbnails for images with the same name • Resolved metadata loading issues for files containing non-latin characters • Resolved rare 5ch audio file crash • Resolved issues with incorrect metadata for files with '/S01E0.avi' pattern • Resolved auto-start issues in Couch Surfer • Reduced memory footprint for large software-decoded videos and slideshows • Other minor UI improvements & bug fixes Great! Where can I get it? If you're already running a version of aTV Flash (black) the new 1.6 version can be installed through the Maintenance --> Manage Extras menu.
With less than two weeks to go until WWDC 2012 kicks off, Apple has this morning released the conference schedule as well as the official iOS app and some guides for the conference goers. Developers who were lucky enough to snag tickets to WWDC ’12 can access the schedule here. There are over 100 sessions and labs that have been categorised into six technical tracks covering:
Graphics, Media and Games
Safari and Web
One interesting change is that the Apple Design Awards will this year be held on Monday at 3:45 PM – usually the event was held later in the event and during the evening. The official WWDC app is also live now, featuring a detailed schedule, daily news and photos, a map of Moscone West and the ability to plan your week by favoriting sessions and detecting session conflicts. For those who might be new to the WWDC experience, Apple has also created a handy ‘Attendee Guide’ for WWDC that you can access here – it’s nothing huge but does have handy links to other resources that will likely be useful to new attendees. Lastly, there is guide to the WWDC labs including what they will cover, when and where they run and which require a reservation.
The hackers have been teasing us for weeks, but today have finally made good on a new jailbreak for iOS 5.1.1, coinciding with Hack in the Box conference taking place today in Amsterdam.
The Chronic-Dev Team and iPhone Dev Team (collectively known as the “Jailbreak Dream Team”) have announced the availability of Absinthe 2.0, a sequel to their earlier jailbreak effort which now promises to support almost every iOS 5.1.1 device -- including the new iPad. One notable exception is the third-generation Apple TV, which has proven more difficult to crack. (The team also notes more recent $399 iPad 2 models will be supported at a later date.)
“After copious amounts of work and many sleepless nights Absinthe 2.0 is finally here to jailbreak your device,” the team announced on the Greenpois0n website Friday morning. “This jailbreak supports firmware 5.1.1 ONLY and is again one of the most easiest jailbreaks to use (so easy your grandma could do it ;D).”
Absinthe 2.0 is a completely untethered jailbreak available for Mac OS X (Leopard 10.5 and up, including OS X Lion), Windows XP/Vista/7 as well as Linux. The Greenpois0n website will likely be hammered by eager jailbreakers trying to download the software today, so downloaders should be patient.
The latest jailbreak recommends backing up your device and then erasing all content and settings, which supposedly makes the process much faster. Then, open Absinthe, connect to your computer via USB, click “Jailbreak” and wait as the process completes. After the jailbreak is successful, restore from your iTunes backup and enjoy.
Google makes the majority of its revenue from advertising, but the company is engaged in a seemingly non-stop war to ensure that so-called "scam ads" don't slip through the cracks. Just how big is the problem? Last year Google says it suspended 824,000 accounts for violating its advertising policies, and disapproved 134 million potential ads. It's a huge jump from 2010 when 248,000 accounts were suspended and 56.7 million ads weren't approved. Despite the huge growth in offending accounts and ads, Google says that there "are relatively few malicious players" that it has to deal with. But even with its apparent small size, this group appears to be nothing if not persistent. "As we get better and faster at catching these advertisers," said David W. Baker, Google's director of engineering, advertising, "they redouble their efforts and create more accounts at an even faster rate." In spite of this, Google's fight against bad ads seems to be working — back in March the company announced that the amount of offending ads displayed had been cut by 50 percent.
Today we are happy to release a brand new version of Seas0nPass that provides an untethered jailbreak of the latest 5.0.1 (iOS 5.1.1) software for the 2nd gen Apple TV. Massive thanks goes to @pod2g and Co. for the countless hours that went into making this new release possible. What about the new 3rd gen Apple TV? Unfortunately Seas0nPass is not yet compatible with the new ATV3. Work is still ongoing and we'lll be sure to announce any and all news as soon as it becomes available. Be sure to follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Google+ for up to the minute info. Which plugins are currently supported on 5.0.1?
Couch Surfer (works)
Media Player (works)
RSS Feeds (works)
Overflow (not working)
Remote HD (not working)
Superb! Where can I get it? As always, Seas0nPass is available as a free download from Seas0nPass.com. Troubleshooting tips can be found here.
www.tech-sanity.com The rumor is Apple has an incredible headline feature in development for iOS 6: a completely in-house maps application. We know that Apple will drop the Google Maps program in favor for a new Maps app with an Apple backend. The application design is said to be fairly similar to the current Google Maps program on the iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch, but it is described as a much cleaner, faster, and more reliable experience. While Apple has always had full control of the actual iOS Maps application design, the backend has belonged to Google. That will change with iOS 6 thanks to their purchases of Placebase, C3 Technologies, and Poly9; acquisitions that Apple has used to create a complete mapping database. Now that the application is fully in-house, it is being referred to simply as “Maps” (some people call the current version Google Maps because of the backend). We reported prior to the launch of iOS 5 that Apple and Google had extended their Maps deal, and now it is obvious when that deal ends. Signifying the application’s complete re-write is a new logo for iOS Maps: it is basically a redesigned version of the current iOS Maps icon with a view of Apple’s 1 Infinite Loop Campus, but redrawn with a new color scheme. Apple’s replacement for Google Street View will likely also be an in-house solution. C3 Technologies worked on street view capability as shown in the image above. The most important aspect of the new Maps application is a powerful new 3D mode. The 3D mode does not come enabled by default, but users simply need to click a 3D button that is conveniently and visibly stored in the app. Perhaps under the fold like the current traffic, pin, and map view buttons. This 3D mode is said to essentially be technology straight from C3 Technologies: beautiful, realisitic graphics based on de-classified missile target algorithms. This is how the Apple acquired company C3 Technologies described their technology: On the topic of C3 technologies, a few weeks ago we heard that most of the C3 Technologies top executives that came to Apple as a part of the acquisition have left for new opportunities. It is common sight in the Silicon Valley to see acquired team members leave companies once their “job is done.” The C3 Technologies team leaving just ahead of iOS integration would be similar to Siri co-founder Dag Kittlaus leaving following Siri’s launch on the iPhone 4S late last year. iOS 6 will likely be introduced at Apple’s World Wide Developers Conference in mid-June. We’ve heard that many versions of what will become a final iOS 6 product have been floating around Apple’s Cupertino labs (the iOS team likes to work on many projects and then pull them all together at the end of a development cycle), but those expecting major home screen changes or Android-like widgets might be disappointed… briefly, anyway.
www.tech-sanity.com Thunderbolt is finally making it's way to Windows OS. The 10-gigabit interface, after being available for more than a year on the Mac OS only will be welcomed by many. Of course how well the Apple- and Intel-developed connection works on Microsofts Windows platform is yet to be thoroughly tested. That is until now. AnandTech has given one of the first motherboards to support the spec on Windows PCs, an Ivy Bridge-ready board from MSI, a good roasting. It sure looks positive in most areas along with a few flies in the high-speed ointment. The good news? Most general storage devices will work fantastically and you can even get some features of Apple's Thunderbolt Display working if you're willing to accept a lack of pre-supplied software brightness controls and USB support but no doubt someone will eventually sort something out here. The bad news comes mostly in the absence of true hot-plugging which the Mac has: if a device isn't plugged into the Thunderbolt port on boot, Windows won't see it. Professionals who need everything to be just perfect will want to wait, then, but bandwidth lovers will still find something to like if they're willing to build Thunderbolt-equipped PCs themselves.