Thursday, January 31, 2013

Coursera Wins ?Best New Startup Of 2012?, Get Schooled

IMG_1628 seems as if, in our particular slice of time, many spheres of industry are coming to a breaking point; Will we be focused on marginal costs and continue doing things the old way, or chuck existing systems and focus on the new? Government is one of these spheres, healthcare is another, so is transportation, and also education. TechCrunch is committed to accurately covering this tumultuous time, and providing a record of this zeitgeist for our readers and history.



Chocomize personalized chocolate: giveaway and discount code

Okay, I know what you're thinking: chocolate on Download Squad? That's right! That's because Chocomize is one of the nerdiest ways to get chocolate online: it's a website where you customize your own bar using a multi-step process.

We've covered Chocomize before in our holiday gift guide, so when they reached out to us offering to do a giveaway, we really couldn't resist.

Chocomize is giving away ten gift certificates, each worth $50, for you to create your own customized chocolate. They sent us some pictures of their recent creations, which you can find in the gallery below.

Regardless of the giveaway, you can use the discount code switched to get 10% off any Chocomize order. The code is valid through April 20th - just in time for Easter!

To participate, simply leave a comment. Fine print is after the jump.

Continue reading Chocomize personalized chocolate: giveaway and discount code

Chocomize personalized chocolate: giveaway and discount code originally appeared on Download Squad on Wed, 06 Apr 2011 09:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Let it Slide is an engaging, difficult puzzle game

I have a thing for physics games, and I've been known to post the occasional platformer or action game here and there. But Let it Slide is one of the brainiest games I've posted to date.

The idea is very simple, and far from original: You get a board with pieces arranged in a particular pattern; you have to slide those around until you get the special piece into its target location.

It's not even about finding out where the target location is - you can just hover over "dim tiles" and instantly see where you're supposed to bring the special piece. But getting it there is a whole different story.

There are five tutorial levels, which I strongly recommend you do. Then there are twenty "beginner" levels, but that's really a misnomer. If those are the beginner levels, I don't want to know what the intermediate and advanced levels look like!

Every time you finish a level you get a score based on how many clicks it took you - each level has a "par" (the minimum number of clicks it could be completed in), and your performance is compared to that gold standard. Because it's such a brainy game, getting it right is quite satisfying. I was downright proud of myself when I managed to finish a few levels. All in all, quite recommended, especially if you've got a few minutes of quiet. It might actually help you focus better later on.

Let it Slide is an engaging, difficult puzzle game originally appeared on Download Squad on Wed, 23 Feb 2011 17:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Deal of the Day: 51% off Belkin Grip Max Case for iPhone 5

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iMore at Macworld|iWorld 2013: Cupertino

Wednesday morning we high-tailed it over to Moscone West to pick up our Macworld|iWorld media badges -- the big honking necklaces that grant us access to all the events we want to cover for you. Once those were squared away, we ran back to the hotel to edit the photos and videos from the MacBreak Weekly trip.

Once all of that was uploaded and posted, we got on the road and pointed ourselves towards Cupertino. Apple headquarters is about 90 minutes south of San Francisco. Nestled in the small town of Cupertino, it occupies not only what's traditionally thought of as the Apple campus, but now spills over into adjacent buildings and parts of town. That growing lack of space is no doubt a big part of the reason Apple's building a new, spaceship-style mothership.

Visitor's parking was packed, but we caught someone leaving and managed to score a space. Then we dashed into the Company Store.

Picture an Apple Store, and then add to it Apple branded clothing -- shirts, caps, jackets, etc. -- as well as pens and pencils, mugs and umbrellas, keychains and notebooks. Some things are playful "Siri, remind me to wash this shirt", or "This is the most amazing shirt we've ever made". Most just has a single, tasteful Apple logo. The Company Store is the only place in the world where you can get them, so if you're ever in the area and want a piece of Apple-cana, make sure you stop by.

We took the scenic way back, driving along the coast so Martin could take his trademark "The Stance" self-portraits along the beaches and cliffs.

Once back we met up with some fellow bloggers and friends for drinks, then briefly checked out Macworld|iWorld's media reception, then headed off to the Smile party. Smile, who makes TextExpander and PDF Pen was celebrating 10 years as a company.

There were a ton more fellow media types there, but also some longtime fans. Meeting you guys, the people who read and listen and watch and comment and participate, is the absolute best part of Macworld|iWorld and one of the major reasons I love coming to this even in particular every year.

Today the Macworld|iWorld expo opens its doors. Martin and I will be covering it as best we can for you. I'll also be on a panel called iCloud, App Stores, and other Things To Fear: Has Apple Forgotten Power Users? hosted by Macworld's Lex Friedman, with John Gruber, Paul Kafasis, and Matthew Panzarino at 1pm.

Should be a fun day. If you're here, please do say hi. If you're following along, please let me know what you want to see.



Google holds back on open-sourcing Honeycomb, heralds massive shift for Android

Android Honeycomb
Google, in an interesting but not entirely unexpected twist, will not be open-sourcing Android 3.0 Honeycomb for the foreseeable future.

Historically, Android is usually open-sourced via the Android Open Source Project (AOSP) a few days or weeks after the code is finalized. While this departure from the norm won't affect OEMs like HTC and Motorola that have access to internal builds of Android, small-time developers will likely have to wait months before rolling their own distributions.

As to why Google is holding back Honeycomb, its reasons are actually rather rational. Honeycomb, while originally intended to run on all mobile form factors, is only ready for deployment on tablets. "To make our schedule to ship the tablet, we made some design tradeoffs," says Andy Rubin, the head of Google's Android group. "We didn't want to think about what it would take for the same software to run on phones. It would have required a lot of additional resources and extended our schedule beyond what we thought was reasonable. So we took a shortcut."

In other words, Google wants to prevent OEMs and homebrew developers like Cyanogen from rolling their own smartphone versions of Honeycomb -- it doesn't want to see the same bitter-tasting tabletified bastardization that occurred with Android 2.1 and 2.2 last year.

Continue reading Google holds back on open-sourcing Honeycomb, heralds massive shift for Android

Google holds back on open-sourcing Honeycomb, heralds massive shift for Android originally appeared on Download Squad on Fri, 25 Mar 2011 07:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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It?s On. Uber Will Soon Go Up Against Lyft And SideCar With A Ride-Sharing Service Of Its Own

Travis Kalanick HeadshotCEO Travis Kalanick previously had teased the idea of launching a ride-sharing option in a backstage interview at TechCrunch Disrupt. Now, however, with the regulatory risk associated with ride-sharing out of the way while the PUC reviews potential new regulation, Kalanick says the company is going to engage in competition directly with companies like Lyft and SideCar.



Review: Bowers & Wilkins A5 AirPlay Wireless Speaker

Review: Bowers & Wilkins A5 AirPlay Wireless Speaker
The A5 may be the smaller of Bowers & Wilkins' two new AirPlay speakers, but this 80-watt rig has no trouble delivering the natural, refined sound the company is known for.



Windows 8 now available to OEMs via Microsoft Connect

windows 8Select Microsoft Connect partners -- major players like HP -- have been given their first taste of Windows 8. According to various sources, the build string currently sits at 7971.0.110324-1900, which is the third milestone build of the successor to Windows 7.

So far, there haven't been many details revealed about Windows 8. An actual System Restore -- which is being referred to as History Vault -- has been reported, and the feature will allow users and administrators to completely roll back a system to a previous state. A factory reset option is also said to be included.

We've also seen Windows Live integration taking shape on the desktop. It's believed that you'll be able to log in to Windows 8 using your Windows Live credentials, not just a traditional offline Windows username and password.

All that's left now is for a leaked Windows 8 build to show up on a torrent site. Feel free to tip us if you see that happen.

Windows 8 now available to OEMs via Microsoft Connect originally appeared on Download Squad on Thu, 31 Mar 2011 08:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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A sneak peek at the next version of Android Market and Music app

Android Honeycomb'ish smartphone Music appUpdate: Tech From 10 seems to be offline -- but we have lots of images and a hands-on review if you want to see what the new Music app is like.

In what is probably a bit of a big-G whoopsie, the folks at Tech From 10 woke up to find a new, test version of Android Market installed on their Galaxy S.

Visually, the new version is almost identical. The carousel of featured apps has been updated slightly, and apps now have a 'Content rating,' but that's it (image after the break). The interesting bit, however, is the inclusion of alpha and beta apps -- most notably, there's a new version of the Music app, which looks like a scaled-down version of the Android 3.0 Honeycomb Music app (see right).

Also available from the test Android Market is 'Google Gallery 3D New 10.2', 'Google - Camera v12' and 'Google Desk Clock 10' -- but, curiously, all of the apps refused to launch on Tech From 10's Galaxy S (Vibrant) smartphone. Are they Honeycomb apps? Or, more likely, are they destined for the next Android smartphone OS, Ice Cream?

If you want to try out the new Honeycombish Music app, Tech From 10 has made the APK available for download. You can also download the three Google apps, if you want to have a poke around.

Continue reading A sneak peek at the next version of Android Market and Music app

A sneak peek at the next version of Android Market and Music app originally appeared on Download Squad on Tue, 05 Apr 2011 06:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Apple?s iBook App is Brilliant

By far one of the best features of Apple’s iPad is it’s ability to access thousands of apps. It does have a great multi-orientation interface too but the fact that these apps have been designed for the iPad only means there is very little chance of finding them on any other device other than the iPhone and iPod Touch.   The applications cover a wide range of categories from entertainment to business with games, education and sports in between. Apple [...]



Facebook introduces 'a new type of gift card,' is a lot like the old types

Facebook introduces 'a new type of gift card', is a lot like the old types

If you're still desperate to get that Facebook acquaintance something for their birthday or some kind of anniversary, the Social Network has instituted a new way to take your money give. You'll be able to pick up gift credit for the likes of Jamba Juice, Olive Garden, Sephora and Target, plucking what you'd like from the "gift cards and digital" category inside the existing Gifts tab, and stating an amount and the name of the lucky gift-getter. The friend will be immediately notified and a lovingly Facebook-branded card will be sent to their residence. The credit can be used immediately, reused and even hold multiple balances for the differing providers -- ideal for the times you need fragrances, electronics and ... olives. Balances can be monitored direct from your Facebook page or app, even updating and sending notifications when credit is being used. Facebook says the cards will roll-out gradually across the US, though wasn't specific on any launch regions. Expect to hear more in the next few days.

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Source: Facebook



Android 4.2.1 pushing for the Sprint Galaxy Nexus

Sprint Galaxy Nexus

It's been a scant couple of weeks since the Sprint Galaxy Nexus saw an update to Android 4.2. Today it's got another update rolling out. This one brings things to Android 4.2.1 build JRO03U.L700GA02) and includes the following:

  • Redesigned camera interface and new Photo Sphere feature (a 360-degree panorama mode)
  • Notifications Shade accessible by swiping top screen edge downwards; swipe down with two fingers to view notifications; tap the notification to expand and take action on it.
  • Lockscreen widgets to access certain apps without unlocking the screen; sidescroll right for camera or left for other widgets (time and weather, gmail, etc.)

You can snag the update over the air (hit your settings>about menu for that), or download manually from Google and apply  it that way. (If you need help with that, hit up this thread in our forums.)

Note that this update is for the Sprint Galaxy Nexus and not the Verizon Galaxy Nexus. Repeat: Verizon's Galaxy Nexus has not been updated. Still.

Get help in our Sprint Galaxy Nexus forumsMore at Sprint



Microsoft trumpets Windows Phone 7 numbers on first birthday

windows phone 7
Happy first birthday, Windows Phone 7! One year on, and the fledgling mobile operating system has 36,000 active developers in its AppHub community, 1.5 million downloads of its Developer Tools, and 11,500 apps in its Marketplace.

Microsoft is quick to take a couple shots at competitors' app stores, beating its chest about not re-counting tanslations of an app or "lite" apps, "increasing tonnage" by supporting apps from other mobile platforms, and not listing wallpapers as a category.

That's all fine and dandy, but we spend a lot of time sifting through WP7 app feeds -- and we're still not seeing a lot of awesome apps on the platform. We think a few marquee apps would've made a pretty nice first birthday present -- along with a much smoother update process for WP7 users.

Microsoft trumpets Windows Phone 7 numbers on first birthday originally appeared on Download Squad on Fri, 01 Apr 2011 11:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Google's Transparency Report Serves as Subtle Call to Action

Governments around the world peppered Google with 21,389 information requests on about 33,634 users from July through December 2012. That represents a 2 percent year-over-year increase, according to Google's latest Transparency Report, released this week. The U.S. led the barrage, with 8,476 requests for information -- a 6 percent year-over-year increase.



How Secure is My Password lets you know just that

We've all heard it before; you need to select a lengthy password, one that's hard to guess. Not a dictionary word. And it has to have some capital letters in it too, and some digits, and a symbol or two won't hurt either.

That's a handy set of rules to keep in mind, but How Secure is My Password helps us understand why they're important.

It's basically like a full-screen version of one of those password-strength meters websites sometimes use. But instead of showing you a bar going from "weak" to "strong", it shows you an estimation of how long your password would take to crack. That's a much more visceral way to understand why your password is strong.

For example, when I entered "rabbit", it came back with "your password is one of the 500 most common passwords. It could be cracked almost instantly". "rabbit5" would take two hours, "$rabbit5" would take 38 days, and "$rabbitZ5" would take 237 years. It's quite enlightening to see what a difference three simple characters can make.

How Secure is My Password lets you know just that originally appeared on Download Squad on Sat, 05 Mar 2011 14:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Watching the Moonrise Might Be Better Than Seeing Any Sunrise

This video is stunning. Made by Mark Gee, the real time video shows the moon rising over New Zealand. It's incredible to see the dark sky be filled with the gigantic glowing orb. Just seeing that offwhite color float up makes me more excited than any sunrise ever. More »



Facebook finishes 2012 on a high note: Q4 revenue $1.585 billion, $64 million in net income

Facebook's Q3 earnings left something to be desired, as the social network posted a net loss. Zuckerberg and company have ended 2012 on a financial high note, however, as Facebook raked in $1.585 billion in revenue -- an increase of 40 percent year-over-year -- and net income of $64 million. The number of folks on Facebook also continues to grow, with its monthly active user count burgeoning to 1.06 billion as of December 31, 2012.

Of particular interest is the breakdown of daily mobile vs. web users -- more folks used Facebook on phones and tablets than on the web for the first time in the company's history. Revenue generated from mobile isn't commensurate with the usage stats, however. Mobile advertising accounted for just 23 percent of the 'book's total ad revenue, though that is an increase from 14 percent in Q3, so that imbalance may not remain much longer. We'll be listening in on the earnings call and updating things here as more details are revealed, so stay tuned.

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