Thursday, August 12, 2010

TheAppleBlog (10 сообщений)
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  • iPad Quick Tip: Enabling Multiple Google Calendars

    I recently set out to enable Google Calendar syncing with the iPad Calendar and found some of the online documentation on this subject to be a bit out of date. After digging around, I found that you can set up and sync multiple Google Calendars from within the native Calendar App on the iPad without ever needing to use your computer.

    Quite different from iOS 4, iOS 3.2 does not yet support calendars with your Gmail account. Instead, you need to set up a CalDAV account.

    To do this on the iPad, open Settings > Mail, Contacts, Calendars and tap on Add Account…, then select Other and choose Add CalDAV Account from the list of choices under the Calendars list.

    Next, enter as the Server, and use your Google Account Information for the User Name and Password fields. At this point if you exit Settings and open the Calendar, you will find that only one calendar is accessible: your default Google Calendar.

    If you have multiple Calendars set up in Google Calendars, there is one last step you need to perform. All the how-to’s I found indicated that you need to use your desktop browser in “developer mode” to act as an iPhone Safari Browser by changing the user-agent setting as well as disabling JavaScript. I found that this course of action no longer works. Something must have changed on Google’s side. Instead, I simply navigate to from the Safari Browser on my iPad. From here I can see all of my Google Calendars and I can select which ones to sync with my iPad.

    Now, when I open the native Calendar App on iPad, I can see all of my Google Calendars. I’ve added entries, and they’ve all synced nicely. In our household, we have a master Family Calendar on the iPad that everyone can update from a central place. We then subscribe to each published calendar from our personal devices. For family occasions, school events and other shared activities, this is a convenient way to share information with the whole family and still have one central point of control that all can access and update.

    Related GigaOM Pro Research: The Case For Removable Media on the iPad

    Alcatel-Lucent NextGen Communications Spotlight — Learn More »


  • iPad May Help Communication for Autistic Children

    Parents of children suffering from autism are turning to the iPad to help their kids. Experts don’t know what causes autism, but parents of autistic children know too well how hard it is to reach through the disease and communicate with them. Help in making contact has come in an unexpected form: the Apple iPad.

    Blogger Shannon Rosa handed an iPad won in a raffle to her 9-year old autistic son and was amazed to watch him interact with the device with little training. He immediately became one with the iPad and spent lots of time with educational programs — spelling, counting and other learning tools.

    Rosa writes for BlogHer, and immediately wrote about the amazing progress her son has shown since the iPad hit his hands. This touched off an interest in communities of parents with autistic children, and experts are now using the iPad with many such kids.

    The situation with Rosa’s child is not unusual, it turns out. Many kids are instantly taking to the iPad, spending lots of time using the tablet to focus on the task at hand. It is hard to get the attention of many autistic children, and parents are impressed with how well their kids can focus while using the iPad.

    Rosa’s reaction to the introduction of the iPad to help her son says it best — “I don’t usually dabble in miracle-speak,” she says, “but I may erect a tiny altar to Steve Jobs in the corner of our living room.”

    It is wonderful when technology can make a big difference in difficult situations like these parents face every day. It points out that surfing the web on the iPad is not really all that important. That $5 raffle ticket may be the best investment Rosa ever made.

    Examples like these put technology into the proper perspective. I asked a deaf friend of mine which technology has impacted her world and without hesitation she told me that text messaging on cell phones has improved her life immensely. She and her husband are deaf, while their children are not, and text messaging has made it possible to communicate with the kids easily, when they are not in the same place. It’s great when technology unexpectedly makes a major impact on folks.

    Related content on GigaOM Pro (sub. req’d): Can Anyone Compete With the iPad?

    Alcatel-Lucent NextGen Communications Spotlight — Learn More »


  • How-To: Blogging With Jekyll and MobileMe

    If you are a MobileMe subscriber, you might be aware that you can use iWeb to create a simple web page that's good for sharing pictures and stories with friends and family. What you might not know is that the same servers that host your iWeb site can host HTML generated by any app, including Sandvox, RapidWeaver, or a powerful blog generating tool named Jekyll.

    Jekyll is a command-line Ruby app that takes a directory of HTML and Markdown files and directories and then generates a blog. The main problem with blogging with MobileMe is the lack of PHP and MySQL, which is required for most common blogging platforms like WordPress. Jekyll gets around this by generating the entire site in static HTML each time it runs, so there’s no reliance on an interpreted language.

    Getting started blogging with Jekyll and MobileMe takes a bit of tweaking, but the end result is a simple and powerful blogging platform for people who want complete control over their site.

    Step One

    Install Jekyll. Since Jekyll is a Ruby gem, installing it is as easy as typing the following command in your Terminal window:

    sudo gem install jekyll

    Step Two

    Next, choose a directory to keep your local blog files. I chose to put my directly in Sites, since I don’t use that directory for anything else.

    Step Three

    Set up a basic “skeleton” of files. Follow the directions detailed over at OStatic to build the skeleton site.

    Step Four

    At this point, you should be able to type

    cd ~/Sites; jekyll --server

    into the terminal, browse to http://localhost:4000 using Safari, and see your "hello world" site.

    Step Five

    This is where the Mac magic kicks in, and why the blend of Unix and Mac makes for the best computing platform. Open Automator and create a new Workflow. Choose "Ask for Text" for the first action, and "Run Shell Script" for the second. In the "Question" field of "Ask for Text" put Title, and check the box that says "Require an answer." In the "Run Shell Script" action, change the "Pass input" drop down box to "as arguments" and paste in the shell script below:

     NAME=`echo $1 | sed s/\ /-/g` USERNAME=`whoami` POSTNAME=`date "+%Y-%m-%d"-$NAME` POST_FQN=/Users/$USERNAME/Sites/_posts/$POSTNAME.markdown touch $POST_FQN echo "---" >> $POST_FQN echo "layout: post" >> $POST_FQN echo "title: $1" >> $POST_FQN echo "---" >> $POST_FQN /usr/bin/mate $POST_FQN 

    In this case, the script will launch TextMate as my text editor, but you can substitute any text editor available from the command line here. Your workflow should look like this:

    Go to File > Save As Plug-in and choose "Script Menu" under the drop down menu labeled "Plug-in for." Name your new workflow something meaningful, like "New Blog Post," and save it. You should now have a script menu icon in the menu bar, with your new workflow available.

    Step Six

    Create another Automator workflow, this time only running a shell script, and paste this script:

     USERNAME=`whoami` cd /Users/$USERNAME/Sites /usr/bin/jekyll > /dev/null /usr/bin/jekyll --server  > /dev/null 2> open "http://localhost:4000" 

    This will run Jekyll and open your site for previewing in Safari. Save this as another plug-in, exactly as before, and name it something like "Preview Site." Unfortunately, this script will also let Jekyll run in the background indefinitely, so you might want to create a third workflow with these two lines of shell script in it:

     PID=`ps -eaf | grep "jekyll --server" | grep -v grep | awk '{ print $2 }'` kill $PID 

    That will shut down Jekyll.

    Step Seven

    The last step is syncing the exported site with MobileMe. Apple makes this very easy by mounting the iDisk under a "Volumes" directory, so you can create a fourth action containing a single script:

     USERNAME=`whoami` cd /Users/$USERNAME/Sites/_site/ rsync -avz . /Volumes/$USERNAME/Web/Sites > /dev/null 

    Make sure you adjust the paths to match where you decided to put the site. I chose the Sites directory, but you might want it somewhere else. To be safe, you might want to run this in the terminal the first time, just to make sure that you have all of the settings correct.

    Last Step

    That's it! If you already have your personal domain pointed at MobileMe, then you are golden. If not, you can browse to, replacing "username" with your MobileMe account.

    Setting up Jekyll and MobileMe as your blogging platform does take a bit of work, but once it's setup with the Automator scripts, its super easy to maintain. Jekyll takes care of all of the details, leaving you room to do what you really wanted to do in the first place…write.

    Disclosure: Automattic, maker of, is backed by True Ventures, a venture capital firm that is an investor in the parent company of this blog, Giga Omni Media. Om Malik, founder of Giga Omni Media, is also a venture partner at True.

    Alcatel-Lucent NextGen Communications Spotlight — Learn More »


  • TheAppleBlog: A New Unified Experience

    Nearly nine months ago, GigaOM began a network-wide redesign of all our sites. TheAppleBlog’s overhaul was launched in late March of this year.

    More recently, we released the GigaOM iPhone App, which aggregates all the major content from our network, and what we found was that users are spending huge amounts of time reading content…much, more time than on our separate websites. Om touches on this more:

    Little did we know how that app would change everything. It brought home a series of lessons about how people view and interact with our content. One of the biggest lessons of the iPhone app was the extremely high amount of time users spent per session, thanks to us unifying the content from all our sister sites into a single stream. It made us realize one basic fact: the readers appreciated the diversity, depth and deftness of our content, regardless of which network blog it came from. On an average, those who use our iPhone app spend over 15 minutes per session, with a couple of sessions daily. And that is with all the notifications turned off.

    So, this evening we’re launching another redesign of all the network sites to bring them under one unified “GigaOM” experience. From a pure design perspective, it’s not a major visual change, but the navigation across all of the sites is a pretty significant change. This change will surface content from the entire network much more efficiently, and ideally, introduce you to new content that you otherwise may have missed.

    TheAppleBlog’s content will not change. We’ll continue to bring you the same news, walkthroughs and real-life application that you enjoy. The places where you consume our content won’t change either. As a reminder, here are all the ways, in addition to the site, that you can find us:

    We hope you dig the new changes! Let us know what you think below in the comments.

    Alcatel-Lucent NextGen Communications Spotlight — Learn More »


  • Video: 3 Top Social Media Apps for the iPad

    As we go about our daily business, the hectic pace can get to be too much at times. That’s when it’s good to kick back and do some casual reading. There’s no shortage of information online to choose from for these sessions; in fact, there’s so much that even sorting through it can be overwhelming at times. The iPad can come to the rescue, as it’s tailor-made for leisure content consumption.

    If you’re like me, you follow lots of content online, from Twitter to Facebook and of course, blog updates. There are lots of apps to use for this, including the three demonstrated in this video. These apps can be used to follow all sorts of web content, and in an enjoyable fashion. Take a look at Flipboard, Blogshelf and Life Browser, and you’ll see a cool way to leisurely pass some time while keeping up with your world.

    Related content on GigaOM Pro (sub. req’d): Can Anyone Compete With the iPad?

    Alcatel-Lucent NextGen Communications Spotlight — Learn More »


  • Apple Releases iOS 4.0.2 and 3.2.2, Fixes PDF Exploit

    Apple has just released iOS 4.0.2 for iPhone and iPod touch and iOS 3.2.2 for iPad through iTunes. This update plugs a security hole that would allow malicious PDF files to compromise iOS.

    The PDF security hole was used in the JailbreakMe website so that users could jailbreak their iPhones without running any special software; all they had to do was download a specially-created PDF file. When Mobile Safari loads the PDF and reads the font section, it incorrectly executes the code inside the font section which takes advantage of an exploit to crack iOS.

    JailbreakMe was fairly safe in that it leveraged existing techniques to jailbreak the iPhone. The real problem with this PDF exploit is that it’s easy to create a web page that would deceive the user into opening a PDF file in Mobile Safari which could do something more harmful.

    Apple took a little over a week to roll out a fix for this exploit. Not bad when you consider the number of devices affected (various iPod touch and iPhone models) and the amount of testing that goes into a firmware update (even a minor one).

    The update is rather large (almost 580MB for the iPhone 4) because it contains the full firmware image. You can download the update by connecting your iPhone or iPod touch to your computer running iTunes and clicking on “Check for Update.”

    I suppose this points out a weakness in Apple’s system for pushing updates. There’s no way to update your iPhone or iPod touch without a desktop computer running iTunes. While it may seem impossible to those of us who read TheAppleBlog, many people rarely connect their iPhones to their computer and download apps and such from the device itself. Apple has relied on sending text messages to notify iPhone customers of important updates in the past, but I’m not aware of any method to send notifications to iPod touch users.

    Of course, if you wanted to jailbreak your iPhone, then be sure to avoid the update. You may want to look into a Cydia app that prompts you before opening a PDF file just to warn you of the risk and make sure you wanted to do so.

    Related GigaOM Pro Research: Mobile OSes Are No Longer Just About Mobile

    Alcatel-Lucent NextGen Communications Spotlight — Learn More »


  • Your Next iPad: What Features Will It Have?

    An idiosyncratic survey of German consumers may not be indicative of what the rest of the world wants in the next iPad, but it does make you wonder what, exactly, Apple will do with the iPad 2.

    The survey of 3,000 consumers by German shopping site Gutschein-Codes returns results that are simultaneously realistic and unrealistic, but either way, users’ desires are unlikely to be met are unlikely to be met. The top six desired features by popularity are:

    • 48% USB
    • 44% Adobe Flash
    • 42% optical drive
    • 38% TV Tuner
    • 30% waterproof and shockproof
    • 29% camera

    A camera, the least desired feature, is arguably the most likely to be added to the iPad 2. If the next iPod touch gets two cameras and FaceTime capability, consider FaceTime in the iPad 2 a done deal. With the purchase of LiquidMetal Technologies, future iPads will likely be more durable, but a desire for waterproofing seems just…odd.

    Also odd are people that think you can just add an optical drive to a device that is half an inch thick. As magical as the iPad is, creating non-dimensional space is beyond even Jonathan Ive. While there’s no physical reason not to include Flash or a TV tuner, both compete against Apple’s business models at the iTunes Store and the App Store, so it’s not happening.

    As for USB, that could be a surprising feature of the iPad 2. There’s already a camera connection kit that has some basic USB capabilities (mainly geared towards cameras), but it really ends there.At the request of the European Commission, several smartphone manufacturers, including Apple, have agreed to create a universal charger, likely via micro-USB port. Of course, USB and cameras aren’t all that will be in iPad 2.

    First, there might be more than one iPad 2, as Taiwanese rumormonger-on-steroids DigiTimes reports that Apple preparing two iPads for launch in the first quarter of 2011. The 9.7-inch iPad will feature a new ARM Cortex A9 CPU and 512MB RAM. Add in a storage bump, maybe a 128GB model, and that’s pretty much common sense, less so the rumor of a 7-inch iPad using a high-end IPS LCD display with a resolution of 1024×768. And why not a 5-inch iPad, too? One need look no further than the soon-to-be-flop Dell Streak to see why not.

    A phone with a 5-inch screen doesn’t fit in the hand and is too small for a tablet. A 7-inch iPad doesn’t save much on size or weight, but sacrifices the precious screen real estate that makes the iPad experience so pleasurable. However, Apple could learn from the Dell Streak in one respect.

    Did you know that if you bought an iBook around 2000, you had to pay $100 for an AirPort Card to get Wi-Fi? Now you pay for 3G in your iPad, but it won’t be long before it’s built-in. The only question is whether 3G Android tablets will force Apple’s hand later, rather than Apple adding value to the iPad sooner.

    What does my ideal iPad 2 look like? Pretty much like a 3G iPad, with the possible exception of a micro-USB port in addition to/in place of the Dock Connector and a least one camera. Internally, it will feature a faster CPU, 512MB RAM, and a three-axis gyroscope like the iPhone 4, but not the “Retina Display.” That would require an iPad with a display running at least at 2048 x 1536 and a battery-draining CPU to match. Might as well throw in an optical drive. The prices will stay the same, starting at $499, possibly with a 128GB model for $799.

    So, what does your iPad 2 look like?

    Related GigaOM Pro Research: The Case For Removable Media on the iPad

    Alcatel-Lucent NextGen Communications Spotlight — Learn More »


  • Secrets of the Camera Connection Kit

    While it may be intended as a tool for adding photos to your iPad, the Camera Connection Kit can do more than Apple tells you about. Having had one for the last week or so, I’ve tested what capabilities the kit has, and what secrets are hiding under the white casing.


    It’s clear what the main purpose of the Kit is: importing and managing photos and videos from digital cameras. What Apple doesn't tell you is that you aren’t limited to using an SD card or the USB cable for your camera.

    Most of the time, when you buy a MicroSD card, it comes with an adapter that lets you use the MicroSD in an SD card reader. Since part of the Camera Connection Kit is an SD card reader, this means you can, perhaps unsurprisingly, use it to read a MicroSD card as well. This also works with Memory Stick Pro Duo, the card Sony uses in its cameras as well as the PSP. All you need is an adapter to change it into an SD card.

    The Kit also works great if you have an all-in-one card reader. If you do, you can use it in a USB port to read CompactFlash, MMC, Memory Stick Pro Duo and other types of card as well. One half of the Camera Connection Kit is a USB port, so, although the functionality is undocumented, a USB card reader will work. Reading the card isn’t as fast as when using a card directly in the slot or a USB cable, but it works and doesn't break the iPad or the memory card, which is always a good thing.

    One last thing that Apple does mention, but doesn’t push much, is using the USB slot in the Kit to connect your iPhone to your iPad. Unfortunately, you can’t do anything fancy like transferring apps or tethering, but you can import photos from your iPhone camera roll to your iPad. You can even use the iPhone camera while the devices are connected, and any new photos you take show up directly in the list on your iPad.

    Saving Space

    If, unlike me, you’re running out of space since your iPad is host to thousands of songs, videos, photos and apps, you can use the Camera Connection Kit to your advantage. Memory cards are fairly cheap nowadays; you can pick up an 8GB SD card for around $20. You can save precious space on your iPad by storing videos, such as TV shows and movies, on an SD card instead of directly on your iPad. When you want to watch them, plug the SD card reader into your iPad, pop in the card, and import the video (you can’t watch directly from the card). When you’re done, delete the video to make room again. The downside is keeping enough space free on your iPad to import the video. However, keeping about 1.5GB free still gives you more free space than you’d have if you had 8GB worth of video on the iPad.

    Other Accessories

    Since the iPad was released, people have been upset that it didn't have a built-in USB port. Apart from a camera cable, USB keyboard or a headset, what would you plug into it? Probably not much else.

    There are some keyboards that don’t work with the iPad; the Apple wired keyboard for one. If you try to use it, an error message will be displayed saying the accessory uses too much power, probably because of the keyboard’s two USB ports. However, a cheap Windows keyboard works just fine.

    Headsets have the same issue. Some models work; others don’t. While I haven’t been able to test any personally, some users have been able to get them to work and say they work well.

    To my knowledge, those are the only accessories that work with the iPad, but let us know in the comments if you’ve found any others that work using the Connection Kit.

    Related GigaOM Pro Research: The Case For Removable Media on the iPad

    Alcatel-Lucent NextGen Communications Spotlight — Learn More »


  • Infographic: The Retail Phenomenon Called Apple

    Updated. Earlier this month Apple opened doors to its newest and largest store in London’s Covent Garden. We thought it was time to give the 10-year-old retail phenomenon a new look. Apple’s retail store sales for their most recent quarter were $2.58 billion. Each store brings in an average of $35.9 million in sales, which continue to rise as visitors continue to stream in.

    Update: The Missouri Apple Stores have been added. We apologize for the omission.

    Infographic developed for GigaOM by Column Five Media

    Related content from GigaOM Pro (sub req’d):

    Apple’s Path to the Living Room

    Alcatel-Lucent NextGen Communications Spotlight — Learn More »


  • The "Magic" Behind Apple's New Battery

    When it comes to all things batteries, I’m a fanboy of Venkat Srinivasan, researcher at the Lawrence Berkeley National Lab‘s Batteries for Advanced Transportation Technologies (BATT) program, and rockin’ blogger for his site This Week In Batteries. Well, for his weekly update this week, he helps explain some of the technology he thinks is at the heart of Apple’s recent announcement that it has developed and is selling a battery charger with six Apple-optimized nickel metal hydride (Ni-MH) reusable batteries for its wireless Mac accessories.

    As Srinivasan dryly puts it: “Trust Apple to make a Ni-MH battery with a charger sound cool. Will the magic never stop?” Traditionally, Ni-MH batteries are not a good fit for the kinds of Bluetooth-connected applications that Apple has designed it for, because Srinivasan says Ni-MH batteries commonly lose their charge (called self discharge) by as much as 20 percent to 50 percent, depending on the climate, after just two weeks. Ni-MH batteries can self-discharge quickly because of internal leaks

    But Srinivasan speculates that Steve Jobs and Apple have placed an effective separator — a barrier between the anode and the cathode in the battery that lets ions pass but not electrons — that’s preventing the common internal leaking that plagues Ni-MH batteries. It’s like placing a 25-micron thick crossing guard in the guts to control the traffic. As a result, Jobs can say that Apple’s Ni-MH batteries, combined with the charger, will still be able to hold 80 percent of its charge after a year.

    Srinivasan says that developments in separators in older battery chemistries like Ni-MH have only started happening in the last five years, but because separators can cost up to 20 percent of the cost of the battery, a lot of innovation is starting to happen there. He himself is working on designing separator technology for a “flow battery,” using a $1.6 million APRA-E grant from the Department of Energy. Flow batteries are similar to large fuel cells but generally use large storage tanks full of electrolytes and pumps that circulate the solution through the system.

    For lithium ion batteries — the technology that is in most of our laptops and the first-generation of electric vehicles on the roads — the separator is also responsible for trying to stop thermal run away (the battery blows up). It can clamp down on the flow of electrodes when the temperature goes too high. Another reason why separator technology for lithium ion batteries needs more innovation.

    For more research on cleantech financing check out GigaOM Pro (subscription required):

    Cleantech Financing Trends: 2010 & Beyond

    Alcatel-Lucent NextGen Communications Spotlight — Learn More »

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