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Archives: September 2010

New Media Index: Bloggers Curl Up with Bob Woodward's Obama's Wars; Tweeters Tweet About Twitter Security Breach

Obama’s Wars, Bob Woodward‘s new book about internal debate over the war in Afghanistan within the administration of President Barack Obama, was the subject of the most news links shared by bloggers, while the most-Tweeted links were about the Twitter security flaw that directed users of Twitter.com to third-party Web sites, and the most-watched news and politics video on YouTube was also Twitter-related — an ad for the new Twitter homepage featuring its new bird logo — according to the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism’s New Media Index for the week of Sept. 20-24.

The book by the former associate editor of The Washington Post, best known for his role in uncovering the Watergate scandal, accounted for 35 percent of news links shared via the blogosphere, and Woodward’s former employer also accounted for the rest of the top five: major health insurers deciding to stop offering new child-only health plans rather than complying with rules in the new healthcare law requiring plans to accept children with pre-existing conditions, at 14 percent; the local ABC affiliate in Washington, D.C., firing veteran anchor Doug McKelway, at 8 percent; the accusation that members of the Stryker Combat Brigade in Afghanistan killed Afghan civilians for sport, at 7 percent; and the nation’s largest mortgage companies using a single document processor who said he signed off on foreclosures without having read the paperwork, at 6 percent.

Twitter’s “onMouseOver” security breach accounted for a staggering 58 percent of news links shared via Twitter, and it was followed by: Mashable’s posting of the new trailer for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, at 7 percent; a BBC article about a woman who successfully fought off a bear with a zucchini, at 5 percent; a Wired story on Apple approving a media player for the iPad, also at 5 percent; and another Wired offering about T-Mobile claiming that it had the right to censor text messages, at 4 percent.

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PC World's Android Browser Comparison

While I have tried most of the third party web browsers for Android, I pretty much stick to Android’s web browser because I find that it is good enough for my needs. Truth is, I don’t use the web browser all too often on my phone because of apps like Facebook and Twitter. Each of the third party browsers for Android bring something unique that you might like. In an article titled “Battle Of The Android Browsers” PC World compares Skyfire, Dolphin HD, Opera Mini, and Mozilla Fennec. Here is a high level summary from the article:

- Skyfire provides Flash video support to Android phones that do not have Android 2.2. The video is transcoded on Skyfire’s servers and then served to the phone in an Android-compatible form. Even if you have Android 2.2 you might want to use Skyfire for watching Flash videos and and not load the Flash player on your phone, saving you from the worry of the security vulnerabilities of the Flash player

- Dolphin HD supports plug-ins similar to Firefox extensions that add functionality to the browser. It also supports gestures for entering commands

- Opera Mini provides tabs and compresses web pages before they are transmitted to the phone providing faster page loads for low bandwidth situations

- Mozilla Fennec is in early stages of development but should provide a look a feel that is similar to Firefox

In speed tests, Skyfire had the fastest average load times for live sites while the Android 2.2 browser has the second fastest load times. Opera Mini loads pages already cached on the phone the fastest.

GoodReader Update Adds Annotations

GoodReader is my prefered app for viewing PDF files on my iPad. I like it because it supports a number of different ways to get files into the programs, including accessing DropBox and Google Docs. Today I learned that GoodReader has been updated and it now includes the ability to add annotations to PDF files. You can now highlight, underline and strike through text, add notes, and draw on the document. All of the annotations are saved in the PDF file so if you later e-mail the file your annotations are included.

Highlighting, underlining, and striking through text is as easy as you would expect. You simply tap and hold on the text to display a menu from which you can select the various options. Notes display in a separate window that is then indicated by a message bubble icon in the PDF file, to display the note you simply tap the bubble and tap to close it.

See The Weather On The Android Home Screen

If you are fan of live wallpaper on Android phones you might have tried the Google Maps live wallpaper and then quickly moved on to another wallpaper. The Google Maps wallpaper shows a map of your current location on the home screen. The live part being that the map changes based on where you are located. Google has released an update to Google Maps that includes an enhanced version of the wallpaper. In addition to showing live traffic updates on the wallpaper you can configure it show the weather. The weather display is shown as a small icon on the map.

One word of caution. When I loaded the Google Maps live wallpaper on my Nexus One I immediately got an alert from Watchdog reporting that it was using 47% of the CPU. Yesterday I wrote about how bad apps that over utilize the CPU are a bigger problem than apps that consume lots of memory and Watchdog is a utility that monitors the phone and alerts you when an app is using too much of the CPU. In addition to dragging performance, I suspect this live wallpaper may also have a higher drain on the battery.

Guster Debuts New Album Easy Wonderful via The Wall Street Journal

News that rock band Guster is streaming new album Easy Wonderful online prior to its Oct. 5 release from Aware/Universal Republic isn’t exactly surprising, but what is surprising is where online: The Wall Street Journal.

Easy Wonderful marks the first-ever full album stream from WSJ.com, and it accompanies a review by WSJ writer John Jurgensen.

The band also announced that “Do You Love Me” was chosen as the iTunes Free Video Download of the week. Guster began its national tour in Los Angeles earlier this week.

The tyPad Turns An iPad Into a Notebook

YouTube video courtesy of Accessory Workshop, LLC

Cnet has a review of an iPad case called the tyPad that as a built-in Bluetooth keyboard. When you insert an iPad into the case it looks like a notebook computer. The case costs $129, which isn’t too bad when you consider that cases alone can cost $20 to $50 and the Freedom Pro keyboard I recently bought cost me about $75. The tyPad has its own battery that is rated for 100 days of standby and 90 hours of typing. Cnet points out two negatives of the case, one is that the keyboard does not have a right shift key and the other is that the iPad does not lock into place while it is in “notebook mode” presenting the possibility that it may slip. The reviewer also points out that the tyPad is designed to work on a desk and does not work well on a lap.

Bloomberg Rolls Out Android App

Bloomberg added the Android platform to its arsenal of apps, releasing an app that allows users of Android devices to access news and market data, track customizable portfolios, and read content off-line.

The Android app joins similar offerings from Bloomberg for the iPhone, iPad, BlackBerry, and Nokia platforms.

Bloomberg Mobile global head Oke Okaro said:

Bloomberg uniquely harnesses technology to combine data, news, and information into integrated tools that are relevant for our users. We’ve made significant developments in creating rich, personalized experiences on mobile, and we’re working on some incredible applications that will leverage Bloomberg’s core strengths as a multimedia and technology company.

Do Not Adjust Your Web Browser! MobileContentToday is Now ThinkMobile.com

There is nothing wrong with your web browser. Do not attempt to adjust the URL. We are controlling the transmission. We will control the horizontal. We will control the vertical. We repeat: there is nothing wrong with your web browser. You are about to participate in a great adventure. You are about to experience the awe and mystery which reaches from the inner mind to…

If you typed or clicked a link for MobileContentToday.com, you are in the right place. We’ve got a new name and a new look that I hope you like.

Frank McPherson and I are still here to provide news, opinions, reviews, and tips about mobile gadgets, accessories, apps, services, and more. So, stay tuned to ThinkMobile.com!

Here’s a last parting view of the old MobileContentToday logo.

Consumer Watchdog Returns to NYC to Taunt Google

They’re baaaaaack. Consumer Watchdog is back in New York City and back in the news this week, resuming its name-calling battle with Google. The advocacy group and longtime nemesis of the search engine giant is broadcasting Jumbotron video ads all this week in the middle of New York’s Times Square, calling Google “chicken” for dodging a privacy debate. Not coincidentally, the ads are running right in the middle of AdWeek, also in New York City and also where Google has staked out a major presence.

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Infinity Publishing Partners With Sony

Infinity Publishing, a website for self-publishing, has signed a distribution agreement with Sony. Under the terms of the partnership, Infinity eBooks are now available for purchase through Sony’s Reader Store.

This could be a good way for print authors to get their digital books out there. For a setup fee of $199, Infinity converts an author’s existing work into an eBook format, assigns an ISBN to the title, and handles all aspects of distribution. Amazon’s CreateSpace is another option.

This also might mean getting Infinity Books into the hands of libraries. Sony is currently running a library project in which they are donating eReaders and training to select cities across the country from Brooklyn to San Diego.