Thursday, January 31, 2013
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.
Gallery: Chocomize personalized chocolate
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.
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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Filed under: Facebook
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.)
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.
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.
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.
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.