Firefox got a few mentions in the news today. Firstly, Google announced they would be releasing a version of their popular Google Toolbar for Firefox. This would of course come out as an extension for Firefox, bringing some additional Google functionality to Firefox’s popular cross platform browser. Secondly for anyone who is addicted to Microsoft Internet Explorer’s user interface you can now make Firefox look and act very similar to IE. By installing several extensions and a theme you can make Firefox act almost entirely like Internet Explorer.
Opera for Windows 8.02 Technical Preview 1 was released, one of the biggest new features is implementation of BitTorrent protocol support. Being that such a large percentage of Internet traffic is from BitTorrent, you can’t blame them for going this route. I just hope it is feature-rich, rather than a clunky attempt. The official announcement should be coming tomorrow.
Read More | OperaWatch
WeatherBug announced yesterday that it will bring its popular weather application to the cell phone via WeatherBug Mobile for Java. The service is only available through Sprint, and will cost users $2.99 a month. While Sprint PCS Vision customers already have access to Weather Channel information through their phone, most weather information is only updated hourly, unlike WeatherBug. “A recent AP poll indicated that most Americans closely monitor weather reports but find them unreliable. People want reliable weather conditions for their specific location and want to be able to view them as they go about their day, depending on where they are,” said Andy Jedynak, Sr. Vice President and General Manager, WeatherBug. “Unlike all other weather reports, which are based upon hourly data from local airports, WeatherBug offers continuously updated live weather information at your fingertips, when it matters most.”
Read More | WeatherBug Mobile
The European Parliament overwhelmingly voted to reject a proposed law that would create a single way of patenting software across the European Union. The final vote, 648-14 vote with 18 abstentions, came Wednesday and is the nail in the coffin for the bill, since the drafters of the law, the head office of the European Commission, say they won’t create another bill. Many lawmakers have said they believed the measure did not promote innovation and would stifle enterprise, and also that human knowledge cannot be patented.
EICTA, a group representing 10,000 companies including giants such as Nokia and Alcatel SA which had been lobbying for the bill, said the decision to scrap it was wise, given the large number of amendments that threatened to severely narrow the scope of the legislation. CompTIA, representing small- and medium-sized information technology companies, echoed this view. “Conflicting views have confused the issue and made it difficult for the parliament to reach a clear and balanced decision that would adequately support innovation.”
Read More | USA Today
The European Parliment moved closer to rejecting a proposed law that would create one single way of patenting software throughout the European Union on Tuesday. Lawmakers are expected to vote Wednesday on this software patent directive, but if they do reject it, the law will basically be “dead” since the European Commission which had drafted the law, has said that they will not put forth another. Comanpies such as Nokia Corp. and Siemens AG are still fighting for the bill to be adopted, claiming the need to invest in research and development.
Some 178 amendments to the bill have been tabled by parliamentarians ahead of the vote—which is expected to drag for hours if it is needed—and if any is adopted the proposal would go to a process called ‘conciliation’ between the Parliament and the EU Council which could take months to complete.
Read More | Business Week
A lot of people have been having fun lately with Google Maps, messing with the API to develop really neat, innovative solutions. Now you can search Google Maps anytime by way of your cellphone. Mobile GMaps is software that will display Google Maps and Keyhole satellite imagery on any Java J2ME-enabled mobile phone. The program was created under the Creative Commons license, which means you can download it and use it, or share it with your friends, for free, as long as it’s used in a non-commercial way. Now you can have a map with you where ever you go so you’ll never get lost, not that you ever do, right?
Happy Independence day! Yeah, you know what time of year it is - time for fireworks. Unfortunately with so many cities cracking down on firecrackers, more stringent laws each summer, droughts and brush fires… Not to mention smelling nothing but sulfur for the next couple days and the chance you’ll blow your hand off somehow! This year, why not celebrate by having a HUGE pyrotechnic display - on display of your Macintosh! Just in time for the Fourth of July, this sweet freeware app burst onto the apple site’s downloads section. It features the ability to drag different kinds of fireworks all over the screen and then set them off. The graphics are pretty good, and for a fairly useless but really fun little app, this is a great pick.
If you are on the Windows side of things, be sure to check here for an abundance of similar software.
Read More and Download | Apple.com
The last few days have certainly been big news for the iPod and iTunes. Apple dropped the new iPod color to its stores, and released iTunes 4.9 to the public. This has sent a surprising number of ripples through the music and Apple communities. iPodLounge has surprised us and given a coveted “A” review rating to the new line of iPods and has a very exhaustive review of the new color players. With the new iTunes comes easy iPod support of podcasts, and the world agrees that aside from a few minor glitches its the one of the coolest things to happen to iTunes since, well, iTunes. Apple has also extended the RSS/XML format a little bit to enable chapters and other metadata to be included in the XML file to describe the podcast. Apple has of course also announced plans to give iPods away to qualifying students - what a great way to help grow their brand in what will become the influential market of tomorrow. Finally there are rumors floating around that the iPod shuffle is about to get a bump to 2GB and 4GB sizes, and the mini is going to get one of Hitachi’s new 8GB drives. All of this kind of ticks off this one Gear Live writer who just bought a (now suddenly out of date) 4th generation iPod not two weeks ago.
| Free iPod with Mac purchase for students
| iPodLounge reviews the iPod Color
| Apple extends RSS for podcasting
| New shuffles and mini’s on the way
Amongst yesterday’s iTunes 4.9 excitement, we failed to mention that Apple also released a new iPod update as well:
iPod Updater 2005-06-26 includes new iPod Software 1.2 for iPod with color display, new iPod software 3.1 for iPod with Click Wheel and new iPod software 1.4 for iPod mini. iPod Updater 2005-06-26 contains the same software versions as iPod Updater 2005-03-23 for all other iPod models. Download and install the iPod Updater then connect your iPod shuffle, iPod or iPod mini to your computer. The iPod Updater will automatically determine if an update is required. What’s New in iPod Updater 2005-06-26. Integration with iTunes 4.9 for downloading and listening to podcasts.
Read More | iPod Downloads
Gear Live downloaded Apples updated new version of iTunes with its much lauded support for podcasts and is impressed (to a point) so far. The install went smoothly (as most installs and upgrades do on OSX) and in minutes I was up and running with iTunes 4.9. Immediately upon opening the updated application of course we went to check out the preferences panel for the configuration options of the new podcast features. The preferences panel lets a user select how often to check for new podcasts, and how long to keep each episode for.
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