Some Of The Many Things We Are Interested In:

Calling all kitties to the iPad!

Calling all kitties to the iPad! You see them on youtube playing with drawing apps but there has been a jump in apps built specifically for the kitties out there. Dogs have always had the bigger toy selection at the pet stores but with the iPad cat lovers have discovered that a new way to play with their beloved cats. And it’s a growing section in the app store and here are a few that my cats really like. So stop reading the news on your iPad and lets get to playing. 

Several years ago the song Cat Jingle Bells was fun to play because it would confuse your cat and sometimes they would meow back. Well the Classic Cat Piano  iPad app is a a new way to play meow like songs for your cat. The piano keyboard has a nice double layer of keys that when pressed meows belt out. This can call your cat to you no matter where they are in the house. It peaks their curiosity and will watch you play and in some cases have them playing with the keys creating their own kitty music. Fun and entertaining to both cat and owners alike. 

Another fun cat toy on the iPad app is simply called Cat Toy. This iPad app has several charters or toys for your curious cat. With a mouse, rat, spider and a ping pong ball to choose from, this app has a lot to offer. The charters run around and when your cat paws the charter it reacts like they have caught it but wiggles out of their paw. Another fun section to this app is the main screen title when pressed has a selection of different sounds that my cat finds almost as in trigging as the toys themselves. 

Sophie the Circus Cat is another app with cat-appeal. This app has three sections, one is a cute fun story about a cat with big kitty dreams, the next section has recipes and activity ideas for you and your cat. The recipes are easy to follow and my cat really liked the kitty crackers I made for them. The last section is a cat toy that you can control with buttons for fun noises that will cause any cat to be curious. When your cat paws on the little mouse or spider it responds with wiggle movements and sounds. With a warn story and great activity ideas this app would make a great christmas gift for your furry kitty friends. 

So the next time you visit the iTunes app store download some great fun for your furry friends.
By Amanda O’Brien


The Private Life of Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs’s biographer Walter Isaacson will be interviewed on Sunday night’s episode of 60 Minutes.

The interview will air on Oct. 23, the night before Isaacson’s Steve Jobs: A Biography hits bookshelves. Isaacson was given unprecedented access to Jobs and those who knew him. Jobs, who died earlier this month, reportedly told Isaacson that “nothing is off limits” when it came to chronicling his life.

In a special essay for Time subscribers, Isaacson shed some light on why the notoriously private Jobs was finally willing to open up about his life. “I wanted my kids to know me,” Jobs reportedly told Isaacson.

CBS announced the interview segment on its Facebook page. We expect the clip will be available in the official 60 Minutes iPad app shortly after it airs on TV.


Isaacson Discusses Jobs’s Decision to Put Off Surgery

CBS News released a preview of its upcoming Segment on Thursday. The clip includes Isaacson discussing Jobs’s decision to put-off surgery after being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. The surgery could have saved Jobs’s life. Isaacson says that despite the urgings of his wife and surgeons, Jobs opted to try alternative treatments first. It was a decision he would later regret.


iPad Has it’s First Real Challenger, Amazon Fire

How the Amazon Fire Compares to the iPad

Written by Maria Korolov

Amazon’s new $200 Fire tablet could be the first device to make a significant impact on the iPad’s dominance of the market, thanks to innovative use of cloud services.

Let’s take a look at the reasons for this claim.

The Fire tablet is designed for shopping. Amazon is not only the biggest provider of cloud hosting in the world, but it is also the biggest online retailer. And it’s no secret that the Fire was designed from the ground up to make e-shopping as easy as possible –- specifically, shopping for content from Amazon. Users can buy e-books, movies, music, and apps through a convenient interface.

The iPad is similarly designed for easy shopping. Both devices are easier and friendlier to use than more utilitarian generic tablets. It’s like the difference between walking into a high-end store and your company’s office supply closet. The store’s sound system lulls you into a pleasant shopping stupor. The staff is friendly. The colors are the latest seasonal palette –- it even smells nice. The office supply closet –- not so much.

By pairing up its tablet with its popular e-commerce site, Amazon instantly makes its device comforting and familiar -– a major plus if Amazon is going after the same audience that buys e-readers. According to Nielsen, 65 percent of e-reader users are currently over 45 years of age, and 61 percent are women.

These are prime shopping demographics, especially when it comes to books. And Amazon is the No. 1 destination for book shoppers. According to the Book Industry Study Group, 70 percent of e-book shoppers bought on Amazon in May 2011, while less than 10 percent bought books through the Apple store.

If these shoppers are inspired to buy Amazon’s Fire tablet over the iPad, they won’t just be buying e-books, either –- they’ll have access to Amazon’s entire catalog, both of digital media and of actual physical objects they can have shipped to their homes.

The Fire tablet -– like the iPad –- also makes shopping easier by offering free cloud storage for all purchased digital products. This is a bigger deal for the Fire, which only has 8GB of storage, while the iPad starts at 16GB and goes all the way up to 64GB.

The Fire tablet focuses on the consumer. The iPad is difficult enough to use to create or edit documents –- the on-screen keyboard can be awkward, and an external keyboard forces users to switch back and forth between typing and tapping on the screen.

The Fire tablet, with its smaller size –- seven inches diagonal, compared to the iPad’s 9.7 inches –- is even more difficult to use for writing anything longer than a short email or text message. But the small size makes it a third lighter than the iPad -– perfect for holding in one hand while reading books or magazines or surfing the Web.

Fire users are more likely to be consuming content from the cloud rather than creating it. This means that it’s unlikely that the Fire tablet will become popular in business environments as a laptop replacement or presentation device.

The Fire tablet is WiFi only. Fire users have to find WiFi hotspots in order to take advantage of the tablet’s Internet capabilities. That means that kids won’t be surfing the Web from the back seat of the family minivan –- and their parents won’t be checking their email or downloading new e-books while at the beach.

The alternative to WiFi is 3G –- which typically requires a data contract from a cellphone company like AT&T or Verizon. Amazon’s Kindle devices are available in both WiFi-only and WiFi plus 3G configurations, as is Apple’s iPad. The 3G-enabled tablets are fully functional everywhere -– well, everywhere with cell coverage. There’s a monthly fee for the 3G service on the iPad, but no monthly access fee for Amazon’s Kindle Touch 3G, Kindle Keyboard 3G, and Kindle DX.

Of course, those devices aren’t designed to download, say, full-length movies and TV shows –- both of which the Kindle Fire can handle.

To Read More…


Free iPad Video Apps

The 11 Best Free iPad Video Apps: Showyou, ABC Player And More

The Huffington Post  

The ever-popular Apple iPad, with its wide, high-resolution screen, is a great device for watching video (better than the tiny iPhone, anyway); and yet the options for video discovery are surprisingly limited, given how tailor-made the iPad seems to be for media consumption of all kinds.

Sure, you’ve got YouTube for your standard viral video-viewing pleasure, iTunes for individual purchases and rentals, and Netflix and Hulu Plus for those with subscriptions. But what about for us freeloaders?

Here are eleven zero-dollar apps we found that can be quite useful both for finding new videos online and for watching them full-screen on your iPad, or hooked up to your wide-screen television at home. Just be sure you plan ahead: you’ll need an Internet connection to stream the clips, as the free apps don’t allow for downloads.

ABC wins the award for best iPad app among the television networks, mainly because it is the only one of the Big 4 networks that allows you to watch full episodes on your Apple tablet.

Sure, you have to wait through ads, but the fact that ABC is willing to let users stream full episodes of Secret Millionaire, Primetime and (personal favorite braindead show) Wipeout onto your iPad is a huge plus for the network and a good way to make fans.

Of course PBS has free shows! Joining ABC, PBS has an iPad app streaming full episodes of Masterpiece Theater, Austin City Limits and worldwide dad-favorite Antiques Roadshow.

Sure, you can only watch previews of PBS’s incredibly popular children shows (oh, what I wouldn’t give to be able to watch The Electric Company on my tablet), but if you’re an adult looking for some stimulating video content for your iPad, the PBS iPad app is an excellent place to turn.

The TED series–”riveting talks by remarkable people, free to the world”–are also free to you on your iPad with an attractive interface on a white background, videos are searchable by category and length of time, and can also be saved to watch offline.

Watch some TEDTalks for free and maybe, just maybe, learn something or be inspired to change the world. Not a bad deal at a zero dollar price tag.

Showyou is a well-designed and well-conceived video app that utilizes all the best features of the iPad in its interface. Showyou gives you a user-friendly sliding grid of videos against a black background and the clips are sorted either by publisher (featuring collections by Reddit, The Colbert Report, CollegeHumor and a few dozen others) or by what your friends are sharing on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and other social networks.

In the “All” view, the “Publisher” and “Social Network” options are combined with the videos that are currently the most shared on the Internet. Your subscriptions are pushed to the top-left corner for easy, swipe-based scanning.

You can also search all videos on Showyou and the results are displayed in the app’s standard grid view.

Sony owns Crackle, a video streaming site, and the company recently built a Crackle iPad app that showcases Sony’s content. Though it’s a little buggy (as we found when tried out the app and as numerous other reviewers have noted), Crackle users can expect a nice selection of ad-supported television and movies from Sony Studios. Be forewarned, however, that most of the content is fairly old. While you won’t be getting, say, Breaking Bad, you do get some episodes News Radio, Seinfeld and The Tick, as well as movies like Pineapple Express, Beverly Hills Ninja and Stand by Me, among other 80s and 90s favorites.

If you don’t mind ads or a small selection that skews older, Crackle is a nice choice for free, professional content for the iPad.

Similar to Showyou, Squrl is a video aggregation app that offers collections of videos from Netflix, Hulu, YouTube and Vimeo sorted by topic. Think of it as an endlessly iterating selection of playlists on different themes: Movie trailers, politics, sports highlights, music videos, and everything else you would expect across the major video streaming platforms.

Though it does not have the beautiful interface of Showyou, Squrl does a nice job of cataloging your different options so you navigate to a particular category with just a few taps. Its search function can be a bit less intimidating than the image-only Showyou search as well.

Fanhattan is a fun way to find new on-demand and free content for the iPad. Split into “movies and “TV shows,” Fanhattan features an attractive sliding line of titles that gives price points on Netflix, Hulu and iTunes, and links up to Rotten Tomatoes reviews, cast information, recommendations and more.

Fanhattan is a good choice for those who are willing to shell out some cash to watch on their iPads, but so far its ability to find (or even search for) free content is somewhere between limited and non-existent. Hopefully the people behind Fanhattan will add the capability to showcase free movies and television when they next update the app, as it is sorely lacking as of now.

Plizy is another video aggregator, one that sorts videos by channels on a user-curated front page. You start out with a few pre-determined Plizy categories (all of which can be deleted) including “Plizy Buzz” (the most popular videos on Plizy), Google News, TED Talks, Vimeo Staff Picks, Bloomberg, NPR Music and the videos shared by your friends on Facebook and Twitter; from there you can add channels from about a dozen different categories including Animation, Comedy, Culture, Politics and more.

The interface is a little clunky, and the fact that there is no list view for videos is puzzling (once you click on a category, it auto-plays, rather than letting you scan through your options), but overall it’s a helpful app for finding and watching videos that you care about.

“Brought to you by Goldman Sachs” is probably not what you want to hear about a free video app, but guess what? The Goldman Sachs-sponsored video app SnagFilms is a really good app for viewing free documentaries on the iPad!

No, you won’t be able to watch “Inside Job,” but you are able to view several dozen both short and full-length documentaries full-screen on SnagFilms, including critical hits like “Leonard Cohen: I’m Your Man,” “Winnebago Man,” and “Buena Vista Social Club.”

And while “The views and opinions expressed in these films do not necessarily reflect those of Goldman Sachs,” perhaps that’s a good thing: The documentaries on offer, though currently a bit light, are well-varied and interesting.

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Twitter’s New Open-Source Tools

Twitter launches Bootstrap, open-source tools for making web apps

The business and culture of our digital lives,
from the L.A. Times

Twitter on Friday released Bootstrap, an online toolkit for developers looking to build new web apps, or even clean up some of the code they already have.

Bootstrap is an open source set of files written in CSS (or Cascading Style Sheets, a programming language used to dictate how a website or web app looks and works) that covers some of the building blocks of most web apps, such as buttons, tables and forms, page templates, app navigation and even stylistic matters such as typography and color gradients.

The simple and small tools (at about only six kilobytes in size) released by Twitter, on the popular code sharing site GitHub, are the same basic tools used by Twitter developers for the social network’s own webpages and apps, Mark Otto, a designer at Twitter, said in a blog post.

Earlier on at Twitter, programmers were more focused on building the social network to meet users’ needs than building it with coding consistency, Otto said.

“Inconsistencies among the individual applications made it difficult to scale and maintain them,” he said. “Bootstrap began as an answer to these challenges.”

Now, the same tools Twitter users are open to the Web and anyone who wants to use them or make them better, or “fork” the tools and modify them to build something else, Otto said.

“Bootstrap works by providing a clean and uniform solution to the most common, everyday interface tasks developers come across,” he said. “We want to keep working on slimming down Bootstrap’s already tiny footprint while also increasing the breadth of what it covers. As always, we’d love your feedback and hope you find it useful. If you’d like to help make Bootstrap better, feel free to fork it, file issues and watch its progress over on GitHub.”

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iPad 3 Cool New Features

Apple iPad 3: Retina display and 5 more features we’d like to see

The Web was abuzz Friday with a rumor we’ve all been hearing for months — that the iPad 3, whenever it comes out, will be outfitted with Apple’s retina display.

Double the resolution, up to 2,048 by 1,536 from the iPad 1 and iPad 2′s 1,024 by 768 for a crisp 326 dpi (dots, or pixels, per inch) matching the density of the much-loved screen on the iPhone 4 — that’s the rumor and the latest to report that this is happening from unnamed sources oversees: the Wall Street Journal.

The journal says the retina-display-packing iPad 3 will hit stores early next year, while others have said such a device could launch this fall or winter. Either way, nothing is official as of yet — an Apple doesn’t comment on rumors. The Cupertino tech giant hasn’t yet said anything about the next iPad and the iPad 2 is enjoying huge sales.

But, with a growing swarm of tablet competitors running various versions of Google’s Android mobile OS (rest in peace HP TouchPad), the iPad 3 might have to be more than simply thinner, lighter, faster and equipped with a better screen.

In that vein, here are five unsolicited features that we’d like to see on the next iPad — or any tablet for that matter.

Thinner and lighter

This may seem obvious, but while the iPad 2 is svelte, Samsung’s Galaxy Tab 10.1 is barely thinner and yup, even lighter. However, the Galaxy Tab 10.1 achieves this with the use of a plastic back that feels much flimsier in the hand than the iPad 2′s aluminum body. Apple has used plastic and glass to create thinner and lighter iPhones and this might be an option in the iPad 3. Another idea for Apple might be the use of something similar to the grippy, rubberized plastic feel of the Motorola Xoom.

Glare protector

Among the biggest knocks on the iPad is that its glossy screen reflects too much light and is therefore no fun to take outside and read by the pool or on the beach. (Yes, it’s a good problem to have.) But it’s a serious issue for Apple, which wants to become a major player in the electronic book market and compete with Amazon’s Kindle, the leading e-book reader. The Kindle has a matte-type screen that diffuses light rather than reflect it — so why shouldn’t the iPad have a glare-proof screen?

As Apple offers with its MacBook Pro laptops, an anti-glare screen and a glossy screen could be offered so consumers can choose what they want.

Haptic feedback

Apple seems to have become an accidental force in the mobile gaming industry. It’s iPhone and iPad have inspired developers to make hundreds (if not thousands) of affordable games with low barriers to entry. The iPad 2 offers impressive graphics performance and the iPad 3, which will assuredly make use of a faster processor, will see a bump here as well. But if Apple wants to make the iPad an ever better gaming machine, it needs to give gamers a rumbling iPad, one that vibrates and shakes in response to the video games played on screen in the same way that every home gaming console’s controllers do.

This isn’t impossible by any means. Many Android phones and tablets already feature haptic, or tactile, feedback when using keyboards and other functions. Of course, this would have to be a feature that could be turned off or on for those who do or don’t want to make use of the rumble.

Biometric security

The physical security of mobile devices is still rather limited. Users are able to protect their phones and tablets with a four-digit unlock code, but many don’t even bother, leaving their iPads and Androids vulnerable if they leave them in a coffee shop or taxi cab. So why not add another layer of security — like iris scanning? Companies like Hoyos Group make iris identification systems that scan 2,048 points in the eye’s most colorful layer — the software can even detect “liveness” so, you know, no one can use some dead guy’s eye to break into an iPad.

Wireless charging

Apple’s iOS 5 will enable iPad and iPhone owners to “cut the cord” and wirelessly sync songs, contacts, apps and plenty of other content whenever Apple mobile devices are near their Mac computer counterparts. And, with iOS 5, users will even be able to download operating system updates “over the air” without having to plug their i-device into a computer for the latest software. This can be taken a step further with wireless charging.

The technology is already proven. Many third-parties accessory makers offer wireless charging products for phones, tablets and even TV remotes. Hewlett-Packard had built wireless charging into its HP TouchPad as well. All TouchPad users had to do was lay their tablets into a charging dock and it would charge right up, no need to plug any cables into the device itself. Post-PC should be post cables and wires too.

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Free Alternatives for Texting!

Free alternatives may cut into text messaging profits

August 21, 2011|By Salvador Rodriguez, Los Angeles Times

Apple’s upcoming iMessage service, Facebook’s new Messenger app and other no-cost options could diminish a revenue stream for the wireless industry that totaled about $21 billion last year

Koshal Singh, left, checks Facebook on her iPhone while waiting in line.… (Irfan Khan, Los Angeles Times)
Ben Chinn likes to text as much as the next guy — he just doesn’t like to pay for it.

Chinn, 37, sends most of his text messages free of charge with Google Voice and a smartphone application. He also pays $5 a month for up to 200 messages on his AT&T mobile phone plan.

“With everything with the mobile carriers, I feel I’m getting nickeled and dimed,” said Chinn, of San Francisco. “I resent paying so much for text messaging, and I feel that it’s not a reasonable price to pay for something that costs the carriers next to nothing.”

It’s customers like Chinn who are worrying the big telecommunication companies. Text messaging has been a huge profit center for AT&T, Verizon, Sprint and T-Mobile, but that money could trickle away as free alternatives gain popularity.

Facebook Inc., for example, recently launched a smartphone app called Messenger that enables users to communicate with anyone who is a Facebook friend or has a cellphone number. And this fall, Apple Inc. will roll out iMessage, enabling the millions of iPhone and iPad owners to send messages to one another over the Internet at no cost.

In addition to free apps, the growing popularity of smartphones — which can handle both email and texting apps — are dimming text messaging’s future as a profit center.

“There is a change coming, and it will have a serious impact on messaging traffic in mature markets, starting with the U.S.,” said John White, a business development director at Portio Research. “We see iMessage and Facebook messaging as the biggest players [and] this will start to impact right away.”

Juniper Research has predicted that global revenue for text messaging will peak this year and begin to drift down. And in a recent report, UBS Investment Research warned that “customers could elect not to pay for texting as smartphones and third-party applications become pervasive.”

Text messaging’s popularity exploded around 2005, driven by teenagers and young adults who adopted the format as an easy way to communicate on the go, similar to the instant messaging function on their computers.

And text messaging is still a big business, accounting for an estimated $21 billion in U.S. revenue for telecom companies last year and an estimated $23 billion this year, according to the Consumer Federation of America.

But growth in message traffic slowed for the first time to single digits — 8.7% — in the last half of last year compared with the previous six months, according to U.S. wireless trade group CTIA.

Typically, wireless carriers have charged separately for text messaging, multimedia messaging and data plans, which provide Internet access. Though they have offered unlimited plans for each category, carriers have been pulling back recently, limiting particularly how much a customer can use the Internet.

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Google’s App Inventor Down in 90 Days

Google to Open-Source Android App Inventor

By Jared Spurbeck

Google’s App Inventor is a free online tool that lets you build your own apps, for smartphones running its Android operating system. It doesn’t require any programming experience, so you don’t need to type a single line of code; just fit pieces together like in a puzzle.

Android is open-source, which means that the programming code is available online for free, for anyone who wants to take it and make something with it. App Inventor, however, is not, meaning that those who use it are dependent on Google’s good graces to keep it open.

The bad news for App Inventor fans: Google’s good graces are running out. The company has announced that it will take App Inventor down within the next 90 days. But the good news is that it has also said it will make the programming code open-source, so that anyone can use it on their own. It will also give special attention to “support[ing] the educational use of App Inventor.”

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Amazon and Walmart have challenged Apple

The Beginning of the End for the Apple App Store

Rebecca Greenfield

If Apple thinks it can woo iPad owners forever with its shiny user-friendly apps and  its cute matching app store, the company is deluded. Amazon and Walmart have challenged Apple to a duel with the release of the Kindle Cloud Reader and Walmart’s Vudu streaming site. Beginning a few weeks ago Apple began enforcing its new in-app subscription rules, demanding a 30 percent cut for all sales directly from e-reader apps, as we reported. Companies like Amazon and now Barnes and Noble removed their links from the app store, refusing to pay up to Apple. But that stinks for readers who now have to go through a few extra taps to buy new reads. And it’s extra lame for companies looking to sell their wares to iPad owners, who either have to suck it up and give Apple a large chunk of their sales, or forgo the app store link and inevitably lose some lazy readers. So Apple and its app store win, keeping their delights within the app store walls. But with the release of these independent cloud stores, where users can get the same experience without entering the app store cage,  these companies are showing their customers and Apple that they don’t need an app store to exist on the iPad.

These services allow Amazon and Walmart to sidestep Apple’s 30 percent cut and also benefit their customers, who also avoid any contact with Apple’s app store. Both sites were launched as a direct response to Apple’s oppressive app store rules. Instead of paying up for direct app store links, Walmart took an alternative anti-app store route, releasing the Vudu streaming site, which bypasses the Apple app store while still providing that same Apple app experience. “It’s not an app,” Edward Lichty, general manager of Vudu, told Reuters’s Alastair Barr. “It’s an all-browser experience. But you access it in a similar way.”

You can put what looks like an app icon on your iPad, but when you tap it takes you to a streaming site. Similarly the Kindle Cloud Reader site, which like the Kindle app allows users to purchase and store books on the iPad, explains TechCrunch’s MG Siegler. “It’s a web-based version of their Kindle eBook reader app. It allows you to read your books from the cloud or to download your books for offline reading thanks to the magic of HTML 5 (or a Chrome browser extension). It looks and works great.” No app store, no problem. And just think: if Amazon and Walmart blaze this trail, others might follow.

Not only do companies get out of app store clutches, they make it easy for customers to forget they ever needed Apple. Because they look and work pretty much like an app, this makes things way easier for customers. Before they had to purchase through the web browser. Now you can shop more directly.

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iPad for the Blind

Braille iPad case concept could make tablets usable for the blind

The iPad is the best-selling consumer tablet, but it — and every other entry into the slate market — is rendered unusable to those without the ability to see. That could change if the Omnifer Braille iPad case ever moves from concept to store shelves. The unique folding case isn’t just protective, it also features a high-tech raised Braille technology that could be used with special apps, opening a whole new world to those with vision impairments.

The case covers roughly half of the iPad’s screen with a special Braille section that responds to changes in light. The glow of the tablet’s 9.7″ display would activate a special light-reactive chemical, and raise portions of the Braille section to be readable. Custom apps would be created to utilize this unique feature. As the area of the screen behind the Braille section changes, so would the raised bumps, opening the door to apps like digital magazines designed specifically for the blind.

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