Saturday, June 30, 2012

Proloquo2Go 2.0 Released With Many New Features

Earlier this week Proloquo2Go 2.0 was released. To view the video on its original site click here. Proloquo2Go is one of the best augmentative alternative communication (AAC) apps for the iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch. Some of the new features include the ability have multiple users, new text-to-speech voice and new page layout options To review a full review of Proloquo2Go click here. To download Proloquo2Go click here.

Click read more below to view screenshots of Proloquo2Go.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Google Play comes to Google TV

Google will make its Google Play apps, TV shows, movies and music available to Google TV devices later this summer.

Google's online app market for Android apps, movies, music and books is coming to Google TV, the company announced Thursday in a blog post from the Google I/O developer conference here.

Google TV
Later this summer, Google said it will make video content that can be purchased or rented through Google Play available to Google TV. On Wednesday the company announced it would be adding TV content to the line-up of content it now offers via Google Play.

People will be able to purchase episodes of TV shows or buy the entire season and play it on a variety of Android devices, including smartphones and tablets. And now people with devices that sport Google TV will able to access Google Play content on their big screen TVs too.

Google said it's partnering with several TV studios, including NBC Universal, Sony Pictures, Disney, Bravo, Paramount, Virgil Films, and Sundance.

Google Play also allows people to store their own music in Google's cloud-based service and then access it via streaming on any Android device. Now people will also be able to access this music on Google TV devices.

As part of this announcement, Google said it will also soon enable in-app payments for apps offered in the Google Play store. And it has said that it plans to offer new APIs for developers that will focus on "second screen"

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Dell expands XPS range with new laptops and its biggest ever all-in-one desktop

Dell expands XPS range with new laptops and its biggest ever all-in-one desktop
DELL XPS laptops

Dell expands XPS range with new laptops and its biggest ever all-in-one desktop

The latest additions to Dell�s XPS range expand on previous laptop releases and also introduce the XPS One 27, a 27-inch all-in-one desktop computer.The compact XPS 13 Ultrabook is getting two siblings in the form of the new XPS 14 and XPS 15 models, which feature a similar design in two new screen sizes.Both the XPS 14 and XPS 15 come with Corning Gorilla Glass displays and third-generation Intel processors, plus Intel Rapid Start, Smart Response and Smart Connect technologies. 

The XPS 14 and XPS 15 laptops
The 14-inch XPS 14 comes in two variants: the XPS 14 laptop with integrated mobile broadband and a black leather back to cut down on signal interference with the built-in antennas, and the XPS 14 Ultrabook, available in a silver or red brushed aluminium finish.

The Ultrabook measures 20.7mm wide and features an edge-to-edge display, backlit keyboard, 500GB hard drive, 32GB mSATA card, and optional performance graphics. It also claims up to 11 hours of battery life.
Dell XPS 14
DELL XPS laptops

The XPS 15 also features an edge-to-edge display, this time measuring 15 inches, and NVIDIA graphics come as standard. Users can avail of 1TB of storage with this model�s hard drive, plus a 32GB or 128GB mSATA card option.

Built with aluminium casing, a silicone base keeps the laptop cool and the display is apparently 75pc brighter than standard panels. Also featured is a backlit keyboard and optional Blu-ray disc drive.
Dell XPS 15
DELL XPS laptops

The XPS One 27 desktop computer

Dell�s largest all-in-one desktop to date, the XPS One 27, features a 27-inch WLED display of 2,560 x 1,440 resolution and full HD capabilities. NVIDIA graphics are also included, as is Waves Maxx Audio 4 and Infinity-branded speakers.

The slim desktop computer keeps space-saving in mind, featuring a one-cord design with wireless keyboard and mouse.
Dell XPS One 27
DELL XPS laptops

SSD drive, Blu-ray disc drive and internal TV tuner are optional and the computer comes with four USB 3.0 ports. Everything is powered by third-generation Intel Quad Core processors, plus Intel Turbo Boost technology.

The XPS One 27 starts at �1,249, while the XPS 14 and XPS 15 start at �666 and �504 respectively.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Apple Releases New Podcasts App

Today, Apple released a new app called Podcasts. Click here to download the free app. The app has a number of improvements including the ability to subscribe to Podcasts from your device. Podcasts are a great way for people with reading disabilities or visual impairments to keep current with the news. Click read more below to see screen shots of Podcasts in action.

Monday, June 25, 2012

iOS 6: Guided Access Accessibility Feature

Apple's upcoming iOS 6 software update for iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch will include a great accessibility feature called Guided Access. Guided Access will allow teachers and parents to control their children's device usage. For example, you will be able to lock app controls such as settings. This will ensure that children will not change settings or use distracting features. This feature will benefit people with autism. Guided Access will also allow teachers to give tests on the iPad or iPhone and ensure that the students will not be able to search for the answers or exit the test app. Guided Access will allow museums to use iPads as displays without worrying about people changing to another app.

iOS 6 will be released in the fall. To learn more about iOS 6 click here.

3 Reasons Linux Is Preferred for Control Systems

Inductive Automation
Linux has long been on the �wishlist" for control systems. Until now, most systems have been locked-in to the Windows operating system due to reliance on classic OPC�a ubiquitous communication standard based on Microsoft�s Distributed Component Object Model (DCOM). The name of the game is changing, however, with the arrival of the next-generation OPC standard, the OPC Unified Architecture (OPC-UA). The new standard was designed for cross-platform compatibility, which makes room for Linux to gain popularity in the automated control industry.
Jonathan Gross, vice president of Pemeco, a 32-year-old IT consulting firm, explained why Linux will be a big player as the industry moves ahead. �The stars are aligned for Linux-powered servers to gain significant market-share in industrial automation environments,� Gross said. �Currently, security, stability and reliability make Linux the operating system of choice to support many web-server applications. With the increasing tendency to develop SCADA and control systems in web-based environments, it only makes sense that end-users will strongly consider Linux-based operating platforms. As icing-on-the-cake, Linux generally has a much lower total cost of ownership than Windows.�
Gross is not alone in his analysis. Others in the industry, such as Paresh Dalwalla, are also predicting a growing trend toward Linux. Dalwalla is president of OpteBiz Inc., which focuses on providing real-time operational intelligence solutions to control system users in both the United States and India.
Dalwalla�s explanation closely mirrors that of Gross. �End users are looking for improved security, stability, and reduced total cost of ownership,� Dalwalla said. �More and more end users will see the benefits once they cross the learning curve of an open source operating system. This change will require some time and commitment, but it will be well worth the effort.�
Let�s look at why security, stability, and cost top the list of reasons why Linux is a great choice for control systems.
Reason #1: Security
If a computer system's integrity is compromised by a virus or a malicious attacker exploiting a security vulnerability, it can cause downtime and equipment damage. Just this week, Managing Automation magazine published a story regarding a virus that attacks the Siemens� SIMATIC WinCC and PCS7 software through a vulnerability in Windows. The article also states that these types of attacks for process control systems have been on the rise during the past few years. (Editor's note: Update from Siemens on Virus affecting Simatic WinCC SCADA systems)
Until recently, companies were tied to Windows as the base for their control system�and they were more likely to be a victim of system hacking than if they were using Linux.
�Compared to Linux, Windows is a bigger attack target,� Gross said. �On average, Windows operating systems are roughly twice as susceptible to hacks and cyber-attacks.  Also, an attack event on a Windows operating system has the potential to cause more widespread damage than a similar attack on a Linux system.�
Using Linux means less vulnerability, less downtime, and fewer headaches for companies.
Linux is widely considered to crash less than Windows. It�s also easier to update the system without having to reset the system, as is needed in a Windows environment. This means that systems have more uptime and increased productivity levels.
�Operating system or server downtime introduces risks associated with a temporary inability to monitor and control the systems,� explains Gross. "Though today�s Windows systems are much more stable than they have historically been, they still experience more downtime than Linux systems. One reason for downtime is that Windows systems need to be rebooted to install updates. In contrast, Linux systems can generally be updated without a hardware reset.�
Reason #3: Less Cost
Last but definitely not least is the fact that Linux is more cost effective in the long run. Not only is it available free of cost because it�s open source, but it�s also easier to maintain by IT staff�which means substantial savings in ongoing administrative costs.
�The open source market has expanded tremendously in recent times due to the backing of large companies such as Sun and Google,� Dalwalla said. �Linux is an open source operating system that is considered more stable and comes with very little capital costs. There are ongoing support costs that are to be considered for both options, but Linux can definitely help keep it down.�
Bottom line, companies don�t have to spend money on licenses for Windows servers, nor spend as much time maintaining the system.
OPC-UA and Linux in Action
Now that OPC-UA is available, the next step to take is to find products that use the new standard. Integrator Kyle Chase described his story. Chase is a systems integration specialist for Surefire SCADA Inc., located in Canada, who has always been a fan of Linux. Naturally, he was very excited about OPC-UA and being able to build systems on Linux.
Earlier this year, Chase found Ignition by Inductive Automation, which included an OPC-UA server, making the entire software system Linux compatible. Having used Inductive Automation software for the past three years with much success, he was confident in trying out the company�s newest release.
He gave an example of a project he implemented for a customer using Ignition. The customer�s distillation refinery has a single controller with 14 racks of remote IO. The facility needed both fast update performance, as well as reliability. Previous solutions from industry-leaders couldn�t deliver both. For example, one product gave them the reliability, but it could only give updates once every eight seconds�but the customer needed updates every second. Another product they tried provided the performance needed, but it would shut down every day.
Enter Ignition, OPC-UA, and access to Linux. Chase began testing to see how well it performed, and after going through dry runs, he has been very pleased.
�The performance is absolutely crazy!� Chase said. �Ignition is actively subscribed to 30,000 tags with updates every second. We can finally monitor all of our tags, at the speed we want with the reliability we need.�
Chase is sold on OPC-UA. �To me, the move to a true cross platform environment is important,� he stated. �This holds many advantages, especially when it comes to system flexibility and security. It helps keep costs down as well. Inductive Automation is the first to provide the software required to do this.�

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

iOS Display Recorder makes it onto App Store

Click here to find out more!

iOS Display Recorder

This app is clearly a case of get it while you can, if you want it. Apple has allowed an app onto the App Store called iOS Display Recorder. Previously, an app with this name wasn�t allowed on the App Store and is only available on the Cydia store for jail broken iPhones. The point of the app is to allow the user to record whatever is on their display, such a screenshots or video, and upload to YouTube or other places.

Since the app is specifically called iOS Display Recorder, the same exact name as the app on the Cydia store, it was assumed to be from the same developer. However, the developer of that jailbroken app Brian Petrich has since tweeted that he filed a complaint with iTunes because he didn�t develop the app, and it is using the same marketing as his app.

It�s interesting that iOS Display Recorder made it to the App Store at all. Apple typically denies such apps because they mimic functionality baked into iOS. My money says someone was asleep at the wheel when approving apps, and this one will be short-lived on the App Store.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Facebook Begins Ad Bidding System


In its quest to boost the growth of its digital advertising, Facebook is slowly breaking down its walled garden for advertisers.

On Wednesday, the company announced it would begin testing a new advertising mechanism using a technology called �real time bidding,� which allows advertisers to place bids on ad space at specific times.
For the new system, called Facebook Exchange, Facebook is working with a number of ad networks that will be able to use cookies in Web browsers to track users after they visit Facebook and show them ads based on their Web browsing habits � a process known as �retargeting.�

So a Facebook user who visits a travel Web site to buy airline tickets but does not complete the purchase, may see an ad on Facebook that will allow them to do just that. Facebook is only displaying the traditional thumbnail ads that users see in the right hand column of the page and not other ads like sponsored stories or mobile ads.

The company stressed that it would not share its vast trove of user data with advertisers and that it would not build user profiles to sell to advertisers. Users can opt out of being tracked by any of the third parties by using the privacy settings on their browsers that manage tracking and cookie data collection. They can also opt-out by going to the �About Ads� page on the Facebook Web site.

HTC One S Review

HTC one

So here it is, our review of the brand new HTC One S. This phone is part of the trilogy of next generation smartphones from the Taiwanese mobile giant that is HTC. Having refined their product line for this year, the One S really is a great sign of things to come.


Not to change from the norm, the build quality of this phone is fantastic. With its 4.3 inch Super AMOLED screen and �micro arc oxidation� finish� this really is one sexy phone. At just 7.8mm thick at its thinnest point, it also fits really well in the hand and the pocket. The One S is packing the same impressive camera as its big brother, the One X.

HTC one

HTC have developed a new ImageSense chip to help the camera take some of the best shots on any smartphone. With new improved features such as an Fstop of 2.0 and 28mm wide angle lense, this phone really can take some amazing shots.Under the hood is the newly developed Qualcomm Krait dual-core chip which offers up some buttery smooth performance.

HTC one

The phone comes with the latest version of Android, Ice Cream Sandwich or Android 4.0.3. It also has the latest and more streamlined version of HTC Sense, Sense 4.0. The combination of the two results in extremely quick phone navigation and just an all round pleasurable experience when using the phone. The camera can launch from the lockscreen in under a second, again, thanks to the new improved software and there are some really cool new features which you can use in the new camera application.
HTC one

With this new camera, you are able to shoot 1080p video whilst simultaneously taking 8MP photos! The screen layout has the camera shutter button and video record button right beside each other so you can easily snap a photo without ever having to stop recording your video. You can also hold down the shutter button and take up to 99 photos in very quick succession, again, making sure you don�t miss that crucial shot.

As with some previous HTC phones, the One S comes with the Beats audio software also installed but with the very much welcomed improvement of the software being used thoughout the entire phone and not just the stock music player. So now if you�re watching a Youtube video or listening to the radio, you get the great Beat audio experience. I have to say I love the Beats integration and it really does offer some of the best audio I�ve ever heard from a mobile device.
HTC one

This phone really does show that HTC have gone back to the drawing board and started from the ground up. It�s extremely well built, screamingly fast (can even hold its own against it�s quad-core older brother the One X) and has features that you will just love to show off. Even though the One X is the flagship device for the One series, I actually see this phone being one of HTC�s most successful phones in recent months. If your interested in the One X, we�ve also got our review of that here.

Monday, June 4, 2012

ASUS Taichi Dual-Screen UltraBook/Tablet Details Unveiled

Dual-Screen UltraBook/Tablet

Famous Taiwanese mainboard manufacturer seems to be on a roll at this year�s Computex. The company has just shown us what Taichi really is and now it is unveiling its technical details.

Like we previously said, the device can be classified as an UltraBook if we consider its weight and body thickness.

On the other hand, the Taichi is built to behave like a tablet when its lid is closed.

Although the device features touch input, the ASUS Taichi comes complete with a QWERTY keyboard and a track pad, as it seems that the inside screen is a normal screen with no touch matrix.

To emphasize on the fact that ASUS� UltraBooks really mean performance and quality, the Taichi not only comes with Wireless N connectivity, but it also has dual-band capability.

The press release mentions �SSD and HDD storage� and we would really like to see the hybrid system shown on the other ASUS ZenBooks, but we must admit that a single 2.5� SSD bay is also sufficient.

The rear facing camera has a resolution of 5 megapixels and the ASUS Golden Ear team worked hard to deliver crystal-clear sound with deep rich bass through its integrated speakers.

The basic memory configuration will have 4 GB of 
DDR3 RAM and ASUS says that the keyboard of the device is detachable.

While we�re welcoming such a feature, we think we surely need some sort of protection of the normal inside/non-touch screen when using the device without the keyboard.

Here�s ASUS' press release mention of the feature:

�This lightweight ultraportable is available with an 11.6", 13" or 14" Full HD IPS display with multi-touch capabilities. This can be detached from the full-size QWERTY keyboard* to create a highly portable tablet to give the best of both mobile worlds.�

We�re delighted to see that bigger / normal screen sizes will also be available, but we still wonder how the detachable keyboard will work.

ViewSonic VCD22 Android Smart Display is 22-inches of ICS

ViewSonic Android Smart Display

Asus and Acer aren't the only companies launching desktops at Computex in Taipei. As expected, ViewSonic has unveiled a 22-inch model, though sadly it doesn't turn into a tablet like some we've seen.

It does, however, run Android 4.0, aka Ice Cream Sandwich. See, it's not all about Windows 8 at Computex.

The 22-inch screen is 1,920x1,080-pixels. Inside is a 1GHz dual-core TI OMAP processor and 1GB RAM. These specs don't sound anything special, especially considering quad-core processors are finding their way into handsets, but we'll have to reserve judgement until we see it in the flesh. Android Ice Cream Sandwich comes as standard, bringing such features as face unlock, and the ability to group apps in folders.
ViewSonic has skinned ICS its own way, with learning apps aplenty. It'll sell the 22-incher with these educational apps preloaded, hinting it's maybe aimed more at schools than at us regular punters. Though with ViewSonic announcing a price of $479 (�311), here's hoping it finds its way onto shelves. At that price, it'd be rude not to at least give it a look.

Also at Computex, Acer announced its own Windows 8 touchscreen desktop computers. And while the Asus Transformer AiO might be a little smaller, at 18.4-inches, it does detach from the base, meaning you can carry it around. Neat. It also runs Windows 8 as well as Android, which is pretty handy.
Could we see Windows 8 and the growth of Android prompt a new glut of touchscreen desktops? I personally don't think touchscreens are suited to desktops, except for presentations or demos. But it seems plenty of companies think otherwise.