Archive | December 2012

Facebook Poke vs. Snapchat: What’s the best sexting app for iPhone?

Facebook Poke vs. Snapchat: What's the best sexting app for iPhone?

Need an app for your iPhone that allows you to send images, videos, text, and other types of media in a secure, highly controlled manner? Facebook Poke and Snapchat both let you send messages that, like in Mission Impossible, self-destruct after a few seconds. Whether you use it for sexting, spycraft, or something else, we’re not here to judge. We’re just here to help you find the best app possible.

Facebook Poke vs. Snapchat: User interface and design

Considering both Facebook Poke and Snapchat are meant to be used for not-safe-for-work exchanges, most users aren’t as concerned with the looks of the app as they are with the privacy it provides. But once functionality is equal, interface matters again.

Facebook Poke’s main menu consists of all the “pokes” — or messages — you’ve received. If you see an arrow next to a message, it means you’ve already watched it and it has expired. If you see a media type next to it, it’s a poke you’ve yet to view. To view a poke, just tap and hold on it. You’ll be able to see it for as long as the timer allows, and then it will be gone. If you accidentally let go, you can hold down on it again in order to continue viewing but once the time has elapsed, you won’t be able to view it any longer.

Once you’ve viewed a poke you have the option to reply to it directly. Just tap the arrow next to it and choose the media type. Once you’ve started to create a poke, you can choose the length of time you want the recipient to be able to view the poke for.

That’s really all there is to it. The settings menu doesn’t have many options besides the ability to report users, view the help center, and log out. The app does what it’s meant to do, and nothing more.

Snapchat’s interface is not nearly as refined as Facebook Poke’s. It’s actually quite cheesy. The main message screen has a ghost background behind it that makes your retinas want to burn in their sockets. It’s just not appealing as a static background. The camera interface isn’t really any better as it features ugly blue borders and controls.

To take a photo within Snapchat, just tap on the camera icon and you’ll be taken to the app’s native camera. Just tap on the middle blue button with absolutely no description and a photo will be taken. You can also take a video with Snapchat easily by holding down on the middle blue area. Once you’re done filming, just release.

Once you’ve taken your photo or video, Snapchat will allow you to add writing to it in many different colors. Here is where you can also change the time that the recipient will be allowed to view the photo or video from 1 to 10 seconds.

Anytime you receive any messages from Snapchat, you’ll see them in the main home area. From here you can reply to them or view ones you haven’t already viewed.

As far as user interface and design goes, Facebook Poke will be much kinder to your eyes than Snapchat.

Facebook Poke vs. Snapchat: Supported media types

Originally, Facebook’s poking feature was a simple way to send minor requests for attention that were either cute or annoying depending on your point of view. For the Poke app, Facebook has expanded “pokes” to cover sensitive messages, photos, and videos that will self destruct after they’re viewed.

Snapchat supports both photo and video but does not support plain text messages. The way you can get around this is to just write on a photo with your finger. This probably isn’t a deal breaker for most unless you insist on sending your sexts, texts, or spy messages with actual written words.

If you’re looking to use one of these services strictly for photo and video sharing, either will work. If you need the ability to send messages that can be controlled and destructed as well, Facebook Poke is the winner.

Facebook Poke vs. Snapchat: Privacy controls

Both Facebook Poke and Snapchat are obviously built with privacy in mind so it’s odd that neither of them allow you to add passcodes to apps themselves . While messages do end up self destructing after a certain amount of time, that doesn’t mean someone couldn’t get ahold of your iPhone before you have the opportunity to look at a Poke or Snapchat message, or simply snoop through the list of expired messages.

That could prove awkward to say the least, and could cause considerable problems for some people.

Bewildering lack of passcodes aside, Facebook Poke and Snapchat are neck and neck when it comes to privacy. Both allow you to choose between 1 and 10 second increments and require the recipient to hold down on the video or image to continue viewing it. The timer does not stop once they start viewing it either so regardless whether they use all the time or not, when it’s gone – it’s gone.

Snapchat blocks screenshots for added privacy. (Though, if you’re prepared and want to badly enough, you can photograph the screen with a second device). Facebook Poke doesn’t block screenshots but will show the recipient a flash icon to notify them that the message has been captured.

This makes Snapchat more secure than Facebook Poke.

Facebook Poke vs. Snapchat: Cross-platform support

Facebook Poke is currently only available for iPhone, so if you’ve got friends on the Android or Windows Phone platform, you won’t be able to send scandalous messages to them until Facebook ports the app over.

Snapchat has an Android counterpart but does not currently support Windows Phone. If the people you plan to exchange pictures and media messages with own either an iPhone or any kind of Android device, you should be able to share protected messages with them without a hitch.

Victory to Snapchat. For now.

Facebook Poke vs. Snapchat: The bottom line

Let’s face it, Facebook Poke and Snapchat are both made for people that plan to send media that they don’t want spread around. This basically means they’ll be used for sexting purposes more than anything else.

Snapchat originated this type of app, and if your significant other uses an Android phone (what’s that about?), it’s currently your only choice.

Facebook blatantly ripped off Snapchat, but has the power of their huge social graph behind it, a better looking interface, and support for text messages. If you’re an iPhone only couple, Poke wins.

  • Facebook Poke – Free Download Now

  • Snapchat – Free – Download Now

Introducing phon.es, iMore and Mobile Nations’ new URL shortener

Introducing phon.es, iMore and Mobile Nations' new URL shortener

If you see an iMore or Mobile Nations link out on Twitter, app.net, Facebook, or some place else that’s other, you’ll see our brand spanking new URL shortener — phon.es.

So from now on, if you see phon.es on your favorite social network or sharing site, you can rest assured the article it links to comes from Android Central, CrackBerry.com, iMore.com, Windows Phone Central, or webOS Nation, the names you trust for everything mobile.

And this is just one of the many, many awesome new things iMore and Mobile Nations has coming your way. Keep your browsers locked and loaded right here. 2013 is going to be one incredible ride.

Apple to move Mac mini production line to U.S., sources say

“Apple is reportedly set to move its Mac mini production lines back to the US with Foxconn Electronics (Hon Hai Precision Industry) to be responsible of handling establishment, according to sources from the upstream supply chain,” Aaron Lee and Joseph Tsai report for DigiTimes.

“Mac mini shipments are expected to reach 1.4 million units in 2012, up more than 40% on year, and with the specification upgrade in October 2012, shipments are expected to rise another 30% on year to 1.8 million units in 2013, according to the latest figures from Digitimes Research,” Lee and Tsai report.

Read more in the full article here.

iPhone 5-friendly version of video player AVPlayer — review and tips & tricks

I’ve been asked by several of my readers to post a detailed review of, along with It’s Playing and GoodPlayer, the best generic iOS media player, AVPlayer(HD).  Below, I provide you with a video / audio / subtitle / container type-dependent list of pros and cons so that you can see whether the player does fulfill your needs or not. While AVPlayer is truly an amazing player, there are some things it’s entirely incapable of or where some of the alternatives are considerably better. It’s based on this list that you will want to decide whether the player is for you or not, at least when it comes playing back some specific multimedia formats. For example, if you want to play back HTTP / MMS network streams like WMV TV streams or local direct DVB recordings (as TS files), you’ll want to prefer GoodPlayer; if you need multiple embedded subtitles displayed at the same time, nPlayer; if you need niceties like DSP’s, It’s Playing etc.

Let’s start with some tips you need to know, independent of the multimedia format you’re trying to play back.

1. Essential tips and tricks

1.1 If you have a Retina-screen device (iPhone 4+ / iPod touch 4+)…

You’ll want to enable the “Retina Display” option in Settings. It’s annotated at the top of the following screenshot:

Also note that, in most cases, you’ll also want to enable the, on the screenshot above, annotated-at-the-bottom “Enable Hybrid Decoder” option, should you want to play back MKV and/or AVI files with hardware acceleration.

1.2 Selecting audio and (embedded) subtitle tracks

Unfortunately, selecting AVPlayer’s active audio and embedded subtitle track is far from being intuitive. I’m too always being asked about how this needs to be done (an example, new question is HERE).

During playback, it’s impossible to change the active track – as opposed to almost all other multiple audio / subtitle track-capable players. (For example, with GoodPlayer, a double-swipe up/down and left/right for subtitle and audio track change, respectively.) It needs to be done in the file list view. In the following mini-tutorial, I show how it needs to be done. For the tutorial, I use the standardized Harry Potter test video MKV available for download HERE. It has two audio tracks (English and Hindi).

First, in the file list view, tap the tool icon in the upper right corner. It’s annotated in the following screenshot:

Now, tap the now-displayed arrow icon on the far right of your video. It’s also annotated in the following screenshot:
 

On the now-displayed dialog, tap the Tool icon in the audio row (annotated):

In the list, select your audio stream :

Unfortunately, only the stream index is displayed, not the language code or the human name of the tracks (unlike with most other players), which means it’s not very easy to select the track you’d like to read / listen to. This is a major problem with AVPlayer, which, hopefully, will be fixed in the future.

With both subtitles and audio tracks, the first will be the default. With subtitles, you will need to separately enable displaying the manually (or automatically, see previous sentence) during playback with the icon annotated in the following screenshot:

Also note that this has also been shown with ProPlayer in the section “UPDATE (09/11/2012, even later):” HERE. ProPlayer is a slightly dumbed-down version of AVPlayer(HD); this is why its track selection needs to be configured in exactly the same way as in AVPlayer(HD).

1.2.1 What about external (non-embedded) subtitles?

The player automatically loads and displays SRT files of the same name as the main video file, also transferred to the Documents folder of the app via either iTunes File Sharing or Wi-Fi / FTP. An example of such a naming convention:

monsters-samefilename.m4v <- the video file
monsters-samefilename.srt <- the subtitle file

I’ve also uploaded two files named in the same way to HERE (a simple M4V file without any embedded subtitles) and HERE (an SRT file with one minute’s worth of subtitles), respectively, so that you can give them a try.

It isn’t possible to separately load an arbitrary, external SRT file, unlike with several other players (yaPlayer, CineXPlayer, It’s Playing etc.) This also means, should you want to switch between non-embedded subtitle tracks, it won’t be possible as there can only be one again, with the same name as the main video file itself). You will want to embed all those tracks in your video file (if the container allows this) and, then, select from them in the way as explained in the beginning of the parent section (1.2) of this section. For quick subtitle embedding, you’ll want to use Subler for iOS-native file formats and, say, iMkvToolnix for MKV’s.

2. When AVPlayer should be preferred to other players?

2.1 AC-3 audio

If your video files only contain AC-3 audio tracks so you must play them back. As AC-3 is officially licensed by the developers and, therefore, won’t be removed, you can be sure you’ll be able to play back your AC-3 audio even in the fututre.

What is more, the AC-3 audio track is played back even with hardware-accelerated video playback of native Apple formats (MP4 / M4V / MOV), unlike with 8player, one of the other, very few apps to play back AC-3 (see THIS), which can only play AC-3 audio when decoding in software (which is VERY slow with 8player).

2.2 MKV container

As has pointed out in several of my articles, the MKV container is far superior to the containers Apple officially uses and hardware accelerates (MP4 / M4V / MOV).

I’m happy to report that AVPlayer’s MKV playback is excellent (if you do enable hardware decoding, see first screenshot in section 1), with all possible (generic) configurations. The player, in the (non-default) hardware-accelerated mode, uses one of the fastest remuxers – far-far faster than that of both CineXPlayer and PowerPlayer and visibly faster than that of It’s Playing. (These three players also use hardware-accelerated MKV playback.)

DTS audio tracks don’t cause problems either. This is unlike with BUZZ Player (no HW acceleration with MKV’s with DTS) or CineXPlayer (absolutely no DTS support). There are no problems with the audio transcoding quality either, unlike with the current version of several other hardware-assisted MKV players (like MobiPlayer Pro)

2.3 Other video and container formats

1080i60 MPEG-2 decoding (e.g, direct ATSC TV recordings as .ts files) works great

MS-MPEG4 decoding is very fast

(Camera) M-JPEG decoding is very fast and flawless

WMV playback (see THIS) is excellent – in addition to fast decoding, both WMA Pro audio and videos with an intro are supported. Even the  1080p30 direct HD-DVD rip (a standardized test video available HERE) with VC-1 video is played back with just-acceptable (between 10 and 20, depending on the scene) framerate, which is pretty much a feat, given that most other players only deliver 1-2 fps with the same video.

Software H.264 decoding is very fast – one of the fastest players. You won’t, however, be able to play back any kind of 1080i60, let alone 1080p60, non-hardware-decodable container (e.g., camera AVCHD MTS)

2.4 Generic advantages

With iOS-native files, Apple’s own Closed Captions (see THIS) are displayed in the (default) hardware-accelerated mode

16:9 screen support is flawless – I haven’t encountered glitches on my iPhone 5

Supports screen filling on the iPhone (for example, to stretch 4:3 recordings to fill the entire 16:9 screen; more info HERE)

Supports gesture-based fast forwarding and rewinding (see THIS). The only disadvantage is that it uses 10-second steps only in both directions, which isn’t the most ideal for, say, quickly fast forwarding over a several-minute-long ad block)

Supports redefining gestures

Has support for speed changing during playback

VobSub (bitmap DVD) subtitles are supported; an example screenshot:

Note that this shot has been taken of an MKV file. AVPlayer seems to be still crash on encountering iOS-native files with VobSub subs; for example, THIS one (linked from HERE). For them, you’ll want to prefer It’s Playing or ProPlayer. (The latter is also recommended in the previous, just-linked article.) For example, this is how It’s Playing renders the VobSub subtitle track of the video:

3. In what cases should other players be preferred

You have files with several subtitle / audio tracks and the complete lack of at least language code display makes it very hard to find the tracks you prefer.

No goodies like rendering more than one embedded subtitle track at a time, unlike with nPlayer (see THIS). There is only support for the less-generic, external SMI dual-language subtitles (see THIS for more info). Embedded subtitles are waaaay more flexible than pre-generated SMI subs with fixed language pairs, particularly if you want to pair more than two languages.

OGG videos are still played back with color palette problems (while the playback itself is fast). An example (with the Big Buck Bunny 1080p OGG video available HERE):

Playing back streaming ((local) network) sources is still very restricted: only FTP (with pre-downloading) is possible – no HTTP / WebDAV / UPnP / SMB etc. (Please see THIS and THIS for better choices for UPnP and SMB, respectively.)

DVB TS support is weaker than that of, say, GoodPlayer: 1, DVB subtitles, while displayed, not only lack color information, but also are hard to read as they use wrong colors:

2, dynamic aspect ratio switching (between 16:9 and 4:3) isn’t paid attention to; that is, playback doesn’t automatically adjusts the aspect ratio when the stream switches it.

MP4 / M4V / MOV metadata (see THIS) isn’t parsed / shown in any way, unlike with viPlay and VM Player (HD) – and, of course, Apple’s own, stock Videos player.

There is absolutely no ASS / SSA subtitle support, unlike with HD Player Pro (see THIS) and XBMC.

There is absolutely no DSP support (see THIS), unlike with It’s Playing (or even, when it comes to software-only playback and audio boosting) GoodPlayer. That is, if you do need to boost the audio volume, select one of the two just-mentioned players. (Again, with GoodPlayer, you won’t be able to boost the audio of any video played back using hardware acceleration.)

FlipSide gaming case arrives on Kickstarter with claimed support from Apple

FlipSide gaming case arrives on Kickstarter with claimed support from Apple

We have seen many gaming solutions for the iPhone come and go however this latest Kickstarter project may have a bit more to offer. The interesting part of this particular project is that the designer is working with iDevices who already has a relationship with Apple. Because of this, Apple has apparently agreed to support the device.The FlipSide gaming controller is basically a protective case for your iPhone that also has hardware gaming controls in the back of it that can be unsnapped and attached to the front.

Flipside is a protective iPhone case that has gaming controls (for the serious gamer) integrated into the back of the case. When utilized, you unsnap parts of the back of the case and attach it to the front. With iDevices professional design team, this controller can be manufactured exactly how we envisioned with the original design and intent.

iDevices contacted Apple on my behalf and we are happy to announce that Apple is not only going to support us, but willing to devote a team to making sure that this controller works perfectly with Apple iOS devices!

The controller works by utilizing the BLE (Bluetooth Low Energy) which is a highly power efficient protocol that was designed to run off very small coin type batteries. The ability to use this technology in the FlipSide case also allows it to include solar charging too. The project needs help to reach its funding target, it currently stands at just under $2,000 and needs to make at least $135,000. It still has 28 days to run so there is plenty of time.

What makes this particular controller stand out, is the claimed support from Apple. I have said on many previous occasions that any game controller would need to be supported by Apple and a standard be setup so all game developers can support one controller protocol in their games. Then and only then, would a controller become a success. Maybe this is the first glimpse of that becoming a reality.

What do you think of the FlipSide controller and the claimed support from Apple?

Source: Kickstarter

iMore Editors’ Choice: Ravensword, Flare, Elder Sign, and more

iMore Editors' Choice: Ravensword, Flare, Elder Sign, and more

Every week, the editors and writers at iMore carefully select some of our favorite, most useful, most extraordinary apps, accessories, gadgets, and websites. This week’s selections include a role-playing game, a board game, a comics apps, a photo filter app for Mac, and a game that will grab the heart of every grammar nazi.

Ravensword: Shadowlands – Simon Sage

If you’ve ever wanted some rough approximation of the Elder Scrolls games on your iPad, now you have it. Ravensword: Shadowlands is an open world role-playing game with classic progression, strong storyline, and tons of monsters to slay. Shadowlands is a sequel to two-year-old game, and as you can imagine the graphics are significantly improved. Camera shake, dynamic lighting, and well-executed lip syncing with the occasional voice acting the game has to offer. Delightfully absent are any signs of in-app purchases, and the soundtrack is great to boot. Fantasy fans should definitely check out Ravensword: Shadowlands.

  • $6.99 – Download now

Elder Sign: Omens HD – Joseph Keller

Elder Sign: Omens HD is a take on the 2011 board game. Set in the Arkham Horror universe, Elder Sign sees you maneuvering a team of investigators in an effort to stop one of the Old Ones, beings on the order of Cthulhu, from entering our universe by completing different adventures. Players race against a clock of sorts, as the Old One you are trying to seal away is trying to break out. You must find the requisite number of Elder Signs in order to win and lock the Old One away, while they are attempting to gain Doom tokens and break free to devour the world. Players gain Elder Signs by completing the correct adventures. At each adventure, you will attempt to beat challenges by finding the correct combination of glyphs and matching them to the challenges. Each investigator has unique abilities and starting items that aid in completing adventures, from adding special glyphs to spells that change one glyph into another. The game is $6.99 and comes with three Old Ones, while players can buy Cthulhu and Ithaqua for $2.99 each.

  • $6.99 – Download Now

Dreamworks Comics -Chris Parsons

Although there is plenty of apps out there for normal comics such as Batman, Superman and Spiderman, there isn’t a ton of selection when it comes to comics for younger children. Luckily, Dreamworks caters to that audience and offers up a wide assortment from their base of characters. Kung-Fu Panda, Shrek, Rise of the Guardians and more are offered within the app. Many of the comics available offer free previews and while the prices for the full version can be a bit on the higher side they’re still pretty reasonable. The app is free and available now for both iPhone and iPad.

  • Free -Download Now

Flare for Mac – Rene Ritchie

After all the brouhaha surrounding Instagram’s terms of service this week, and the debate about the true cost of “free-as-in-Google” apps, I was reminded of a little gem from the fine folks at the Iconfactory (makers of Twitterrific) called Flare. It’s a Mac app that lets you easily add filters and effects to your photographs. And it’s a paid app. No strings attached. You buy it, you use it, and they don’t want or expect anything else from you. It’s a done deal.

The latest update to Flare, version 1.5, added two new presets, Tin Type and InstaMatic, two new borders, Tin Type and Hipster, new profile presets in the color menu, Facebook sharing, rotation that keeps the image filling the frame, and a way to increase the effect of the Shuffle.

Flare is a beautiful app that does a beautiful job making pictures even more beautiful, or more interesting. And what’s more, it’s on sale right now.

  • $4.99 – Download now

The Grading Game – Leanna Lofte

The Grading Game is sure to be a hit for all you grammar nazis out there. In this game, you are a TA for a mean professor who wants to fail his students. It is your job to grade papers for him and find as many errors as possible. The more errors you find, the lower the score the student receives, and the happier the professor becomes. You also earn more money for giving out low grades and your goal is to pay off your student loans.

The Grading Game is actually a pretty challenging game because you have a time limit for each each paper you grade. The time limit is barely enough time to read through the paper, so don’t expect to be able to read it slowly and carefully. Part of the challenge is finding the errors the first time you read it.

  • $0.99 – Download now

Your choice?

Now that we’ve chosen our favorites for the week, we want to hear yours! Did you pick up a killer app, accessory, or game this week? Let us know in the comments below!

Instagram, Snapchat, and the difference between $1 billion Facebook bucks vs simply being cloned

Instagram, Snapchat, and the difference between $1 billion Facebook bucks vs simply being cloned

Facebook’s new, Snapchat-like timed messaging (widely held to be sexting) app, Poke was coded in only 12 days, and part of that code was reportedly written by Facebook’s founder and CEO, Mark Zuckerberg himself. Why is Facekbook telling and/or leaking that backstory? Josh Constine of TechCrunch writes:

We heard Facebook made attempts to buy [Snapchat], but the team wanted to stay independent. That’s when Facebook and Zuckerberg went into hacker mode. With just a few weeks until Apple stopped accepting submissions of new apps before Christmas, it would take a sprint to get Poke built in time.

So a small squad including Facebook Director Of Product Blake Ross kicked development into high gear, Zuckerberg lent a hand with the programming, designers Mike Matas and Sharon Hwang created the icon, and Facebook just made the deadline and launched the Poke app this morning.

People often think they have an idea for the “next big app” and ask how to get it made without getting “ripped off”. It’s a cliche that ideas are a dime a dozen and implementation and execution are where the value resides. But that’s never been true either. Whether it was Microsoft in the early days of the PC, or Zynga or Facebook now, anything bootstrapped that gets significant attention and momentum is destined to be bought or simply cloned.

As MG Siegler points out on parislemon:

I also can’t help but wonder if maybe this is a message from Facebook: don’t want to come work with us? Fine, we’ll clone your service in a couple weeks and ship it to a billion users.

The difference between being a $1 billion Instagram deal and Snapchat clone is likely how important your user base is and how hard they think it will be to co-opt it. Facebook Camera with filters wouldn’t have done anything to stop or even slow Instagram in the vitally important, incredibly attractive area of online photo sharing (i.e storing). Poke will either do enough, or the capricious offshoot of the IM space isn’t important enough, for Facebook to spend more money, or more than 12 weeks on it.

Oh, and that voice you hear say “POKE!” when a new one arrives? That’s supposedly Zuckerberg’s own as well.

How badly Poke hurts Snapchat remains to be seen, as does Poke’s long-term importance to Facebook itself. Is it a fad-app whose lifespan mirrors its short development time, or is it core functionality that’s here for the long haul? I guess we’ll see if/when Poke secures a place on the Home screen next to Instagram when the Facebook phone finally launches…

Source: TechCrunch

Get 3 months of Flickr Pro for free!

The excellent photo sharing network Flickr (that we recommend as an alternative to Instagram) is generously offering 3 months of Flickr Pro for free to all Flickr users. It’s their holiday gift to all.

Everyone is eligible for this holiday gift including those who already have a Flickr Pro account, those with a free account, and new users who are just signing up. If you already have a Flickr Pro account, you will get an extra 3 months extended onto your subscription.

To claim your 3 free months of Flickr Pro, all you need to do is use the Flickr iPhone app. As soon as you open the app, you should receive an email notifying you that you’ve received your free 3 months of Flickr Pro. You can also activate the gift by visiting Flickr on the web and clicking the banner on your homepage.

The Flickr Pro holiday gift will be available to claim until January 4, 2012.

Go get your free Flickr Pro account and let us know what you think!

Source: Flickr Forums

Tim Cook runner-up in Time Magazine’s Person of the Year 2012

Tim Cook finishes as runner-up in Time Magazine's Person of the Year 2012

Tim Cook has finished in the second runners-up spot for this years’ Time Magazine Person of the Year award. Time Magazine has announced that this year’s outright winner would be US President Barack Obama. Time then revealed its four runners-up and in order they were Malala Yousafzai, Apple CEO Tim Cook, Egyptian president Mohammed Morsi and Italian physicist Fabiola Gianotti, respectively. Cook was handpicked by the late Steve Jobs to take over his position at Apple back in 2011. Time Magazine says:

And like an Apple product, Cook runs smooth and fast. When Jobs died on Oct. 5, 2011, of pancreatic cancer, there were questions about whether Cook could lead Apple. Some, myself included, wondered whether Apple was even a viable company without Jobs. Since then Cook has gone about his business apparently unintimidated by his role as successor to one of the greatest innovators in history. Cook’s record hasn’t been flawless, but he has presided in a masterly way over both a thorough, systematic upgrading of each of the company’s major product lines and a run-up in the company’s financial fortunes that can only be described as historic.

The award is given every year by Time Magazine to recognise the people who have done the most to influence the events of that particular year. As a result of finishing as a runner-up, Tim Cook will appear on one of the covers of the Time Magazine “Person of the Year issue. Writer Lev Grossman has already written a detailed profile charting Tim Cook’s first full year as Apple’s CEO. The profile is well worth reading and includes some interesting insight into Cook’s daily working routines.

Cook does have a few things in common with Jobs. He’s a workaholic, and not of the recovering kind. He wakes up at 3:45 every morning (“Yes, every morning”), does e-mail for an hour, stealing a march on those lazy East Coasters three time zones ahead of him, then goes to the gym, then Starbucks (for more e-mail), then work. “The thing about it is, when you love what you do, you don’t really think of it as work. It’s what you do. And that’s the good fortune of where I find myself.”

Source: Time Magazine

Karateka makes old school fighting new again on iPhone and iPad

Karateka — originally released for pre-Mac Apple computers back in the day when bitmap samurai and Shaolin still walked the world, solving problems with their will, their fists, and their keyboard commands — has now been reborn in full 3D, multitouch glory on the iPhone and iPad.

From Jordan Mechner, who not only made the original side-scroller, but created Prince of Persia as well, and Jeff Matsuda of The Batman animated series fame, the all new Karateka, you get three lives, literally — the Brute, the Monk, and the True Love — to attempt to save Mariko from the evil warlord, Akuma. Again, with. your. fists.

They claim the combat is rhythm-based, easy to pick up but challenging to master, and there’s three different endings, one for each character.

I’m looking forward to trying it out this weekend, but if you’ve already strapped on your black belt, kung fu slippers, and gotten your Karateka on, let me know what you think of it.

Karateka is a universal app for both iPhone and iPad. For behind-the-scenes videos on the making of the new Karateka, check out Jordan Mechner’s blog.

  • $2.99 – Download now
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