16 Nov 2011

(click to enlarge)

Google has now officially opened up their music (buying) service for business.  Since last May it had been in beta and allowed users to upload (and stream) up to 20,000 tracks at any bitrate (MP3, AAC, WMA, FLAC), there was no ability to purchase, until now.  Google music will emphasize "discovering, purchasing, sharing and enjoying digital music in new, innovative and personalized ways", writes Andy Rubin, Senior Vice President of Mobile at Google.  Google music will sync to the cloud both purchased and uploaded music from your entire library and across all types of devices, while maintaining playlists.

They have added a new music store in Android Market, fully integrated with Google Music.  Google Music will ultimately offer 13 million tracks from the major record labels (8 million today):  Universal, Sony, EMI, and global independent rights agency Merlin, as well as others like 1,000 prominent independent labels. They will offer an "Artist Hub" where the artist without a record label can distribute and sell their own music.  There will be an interface for building the hub interface.  This feature, the Artist Hub, may become one of the most talked about new features out there.

A rundown of how using Google Music will work and video from Google after the break

15 Nov 2011

Adobe announced eliminating its mobile flash plugin and laying off 750 staff as part of a broader restructure.

The focus is now geared towards HTML5, as globally things are shifting towards more open standards, less proprietary web design that work over all platforms.  With the death of mobile flash, the desktop flash future is in question.  Especially in light of recent Flash vulnerabilities on the desktop in the past 1+ years.  Adobe has cut 750 staff in North America and Europe.  This is a complete reversal by Adobe to shift focus to HTML5 on mobile. 

This ends the long debate over flash and mobile particularly with Apple, since the iPhones release in 2007 without flash ability and then again in 2010 with the iPad.  Steve Jobs once quoted Flash as a “battery hog” that introduced security issues and flaws.  Jobs also convinced Google to get YouTube to make videos with the H.264 format without a Flash interface.

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15 Nov 2011

Microsoft is stating that Windows 8 will have fewer annoying restarts after windows updates occur via their new update feature.  It will consolidate all restarts for the month to coordinate with the usual Patch Tuesday, meaning any updates that need a restart will simply wait until the second Tuesday of the the month, prompting you to restart once a month, with the exception of critical updates.

They will have an update notification system letting you know of any upcoming restarts, visible via a Windows 8 log-in screen and remain there for 3 days, instead of nagging you like the default ones currently do.  After the three day period, it will display a reminder but only if the PC is locked or there are no running applications/open files or if you are in the middle of a game or similar activity, these notifications will be hidden and less intrusive.

So for those of us hoping they would re-tool the under-workings of how locked files and processes are handled by Windows 8, making restarts obsolete, we will have to wait a bit longer (yet again).  However, these changes in Windows 8 should make the process less of a burden, though Windows 7 users already know of the hacks available to make things less intrusive with the existing operating system.

Source: Microsoft

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01 Nov 2011

Remember back when Kinect was just a new fad? Frankly I have the device and I can tell you that its pretty fantastic in the gaming realm, but as time moves on, we appear to be poised to see more and more practical applications for the device hit the market. Many have already been showcased on internet threads, such as a cool way to have interactive presentations in a business setting to those of managing personal finances to scientific research tools. These uses have been termed hacks. So perhaps as a result, Microsoft is planning its own commercial SDK for the device. Early next year it is due to be released. After the break is also a video clip showing the many possibilities Kinect has to offer.

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