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Description Someone at the Genius Bar had a great interaction with a customer due to Pieter Hartzenberg’s iSpeak text-to-speech widget. What was the big deal? Well, here is the letter from the Apple Retail Store Genius to Pieter:

My name is Derek Rose, and I work at an Apple Retail store in Nashville, TN. Just wanted to let you know that I just had a customer come in to the Genius Bar with fears that they had been “Hacked” by your widget. I know that sounds silly, but the reason she thought that is because her young son downloaded the widget, and then when the widget said “Hey sexy, What would you like me to say?” she thought that some Internet pervert hacker was talking to her son through the widget.

I just wanted to notify you of that issue, and maybe suggest you change the default text to something else, just because it will invariably be used by other kids, and other parents may find it inappropriate as well. I was able to change the default text in the JS file for this customer, but just wanted to let you know about that interesting visit from the customer. smile

(Thanks falcoboy7!)

Read More | Pieters Blog via TUAW


Free OperaOpera’s award winning browser (now in version 8.02) is free for one day to celebrate their 10th anniversary. From 12 AM Tuesday, August 30 to 12 AM Wednesday, August 31 2005 (PDT), you can send an email to registerme@opera.com to receive a free registration code for their professional quality and fully standards compliant browser - a $39 value. As a long time Opera fan I just have to say what a fantastic deal this is. Opera is the fastest, most stable browser I’ve ever used and with it’s consistent interface across Mac/Win/Linux/BSD/Solaris and great integrated feature set. Get your self on down to download.com and grab a copy - just do it before August is over or you will be out $39 for the pleasure.

Read More | Download.com

The open source developers behind WINE, the Windows library emulation layer for Linux are working to make their libraries work with the Intel version of OS X. If they succeed then you would be able to run Windows applications from within OS X - no need for emulating a Windows VM - just run the application natively. If they can really pull this off I’ll be compressed - it will have taken away the last reason for people to run Windows over Apples popular operating system by enabling all Windows enterprise applications and games to run seamlessly within the Aqua GUI.

Read More | OS X86 Project Forums

SickSaver Hilarity ensued when I found this little gem on Apple’s download site.  To quote:  “A stupid OpenGL screensaver that is likely to make you feel sick in a very short time.”

No, there’s no point.  Just a weird, obnoxious screensaver which is, according to an informal poll of my housemates, “Ughh.” or “Trippy.”

Read More | SickSaver Download

Windowx XP CrashThose of you with Windows XP who have ever had the misfortune of having your system crash are certainly not alone. According to an article by John C. Dvorak, there are an estimated 24.5 million XP crashes a day, for a total of 30 billion each year throughout the world. If you add in estimated crashes for operating systems like ME, 98 and any other Windows platforms, the magic number jumps to 70 million crashes a day. Since kicking your computer won’t fix the situation, the next time you see the Blue Screen of Death you can at least take some comfort knowing you’re not the only one. Or you could just buy a Mac…

Read More | PC Mag

MSN Messenger 8.0MSN Messenger 7.5 is still in beta, but that doesn’t mean Microsoft can’t begin work on 8.0, right?  According to The Hotfix a third party source who supposedly works for Microsoft was kind enough to provide them with the a list of possible, and most certainly rumored, features for MSN Messenger 8.0:

• Change of Messenger Skins
• Real-time Emotions
• Messenger Built Internal Windows Media Player 10
• Pause/Resumed File Transfers (File Blocked Extension Applied)
• Detailed File Transfer (Download/Upload Speed)
• Animated Display Pictures (.gif .jpg .png (File Support under Consideration))
• Mood Status
• Faster Contact List Loading and scrolling
• Public Profile and MSN Spaces Combined
• More MSN Space features
• New Hotmail and MSN Messenger Integration
• Downloadable MSN Messenger on Mobile
• News Updates according to Location
• Top 10 MSN Music Radio
• New Stylish Notifier Pop-up
• Downloadable Skins for MSN (Contact Window & Conversation Window)
• Complete Integration with Windows XP® & Windows Vista® Codename: Longhorn®
• Offline Voice/Message Machine
• Animated Buddy Icon Helper
• Display Picture Ratings

The source also claims that 8.0 will be in BETA by the end of this year, and we can expect the official release in 2006.  What do you think of the features?  Improvements to a popular IM client, or just more junk you won’t use anyways?

Read More | The Hotfix

TiVo Booting

Man, TiVo has been on a roll over the past few days. Ever since TiVoToGo launched back in January, I have been waiting for them to upgrade my Pioneer DVD player with integrated TiVo so that I could use mess around with the feature. A few months later, a newer TiVo Desktop was released, which I could not use due to my TiVo being incompatible. Well, the wait is over, as I finally received a software upgrade during my daily TiVo check-in, complete with the new and more vibrant boot sequence (above). My device was upgraded from software version 5.0 to 7.2. TiVoToGo, HME features, and the new TiVo Desktop 2.2 are all compatible. If you own a Pioneer, Humax, or Toshiba TiVo DVD player, you can request the upgrade using the link below if you don’t already have it.

Read More | TiVo Software Priority Request

Google TalkGoogle Talk is downloadable and ready to incorporate all your communication needs.  Google has released their first IM client with built in voice communication. As for the features, Google Talk is simple and to the point. You can customize messages with very few clicks. I can’t wait to see what they have in store for future upgrades. I wonder how I will be able to use this in court?

Read More | Google Talk

If you can’t wait until Google releases Google Talk to the masses, it seems you’re in luck.  All you need is a Jabber-compatable IM client like Audium, iChat, GAIM or Trillian and a Gmail account.  Point your server setting to talk.google.com and simply sign in using your Gmail username and password.  You’ll be online using the latest instant messaging program in no time. Okay, not quite - but you are using the server. That’s cool, right? If you’re having a problem getting on, compare your configuration settings with these.

Read More | Smash World

Google IM ClientGoogle has had quite a busy year in terms of expansion- first Gmail, followed by Google maps and personalized Google news pages just to name a few.  It now seems that Google is ready to launch their next project, possibly titled Google Talk, as early as Wednesday.  Not just a clone of other instant messaging programs in the market, it’s reported that along with the ability to talk via text-based messages, users will also be able to hold voice conversations thus throwing Google into competition with Skype, a service which has already hit the 150 million download mark.  While Google has not yet commented on the project, I think it’s safe to say that whatever it is Google has in store for us, it will be just as successful as their past ventures.

Read More | USA Today