As expected, Apple on Friday issued iTunes 7.3, which adds support for that ringy thingy that hits the market today.
The software contains a link in its help section to the iPhone manual, but when I went to check it out it was a dead link. I'm leaving the link here , because I assume at some point Friday it will be live.
There is also an iPhone tab in the preferences page. But if, like me, you don't have the super-gadget, all you get is a painful reminder that you are leading an iPhoneless existence.
"The following iPhones are backed up on this computer," the window reads, followed by a desolate white screen.
Google has quite a bit in common with British rock band Radiohead: both have reputations for shattering corporate and artistic boundaries, both make constant headlines in the tech press regardless of what they do, and both will likely be seen as icons of early-21st-century futurism for years to come.
But it's still a surprise that Google, long known for keeping its hands out of content creation, has chosen to outright promote Radiohead's new video, for the In Rainbows track "House of Cards." The reason? The super-cool technology behind it.
"A few weeks ago we heard about a project Radiohead was working on," Google product manager Ola Rosling wrote in a post on the company blog on Monday. "The band was making a new video, but they weren't using any cameras, just lasers and data. As you might imagine, we were intrigued."
The video, a trippy display of 3D renderings that show faces, conversations, and eroding architecture, uses scanning technology from Geometric Informatics and Velodyne.
A Google-hosted site for "House of Cards" leads interested viewers to the video, a "making of" clip along with links to learning more about data visualization and laser technology, and options to embed a Google "gadget" containing the video or a Radiohead iGoogle theme--as well as play with the technology itself.
"Whether you're a music fan or a developer , we agreed with the band that it would be great to give you a deeper look into how all of this was done," Rosling wrote, "and even a chance to play with the data yourself, under a license that allows remixing."
Google, for that matter, uses 3D laser scanning for its Street View project. And it's been taking more interest in the art world, hosting a glitzy event in May to kick off artist-designed themes for the iGoogle personal home age service.
We closed the voting for the 2008 Webware 100 today, after recording more than 1.9 million votes. Webware 100 Winners will be announced April 21 . But in the meantime, we can already spot the major trends. The biggest shift, from last year, is that fewer sites for geeks are in the winners' circle.
In the hotly-contested Social category, for example, only the very largest sites generated enough votes to place in the Top 10. Even sites considered must-reads by the powerful nerd intelligentsia didn't have the pull to displace the major branded social networks.
Webware.com will continue to report on what's new, and will continue to evaluate the most recent innovations on the Web--the products of greatest interest to those of us who like to experiment with the newest ideas. We use programs such as the Webware 100 as a backstop, to show us which of these products and ideas are getting traction out there in the real world.
Vote distribution: Browsing and Social were the most contested.
The team behind the screen recording utility Camtasia have released a simplified, experimental version of the technology, packaged into a nice downloadable application called the Jing Project .
This blob is the Jing UI.
Jing makes it very easy to grab screenshots and videos straight from your PC, and then save them or share them on the Web. For me, the coolest part of this experiment--in theory--is Jing's integration with Screencast.com , a hosting service for videos recorded off your computer. Once you've recorded a video, you can save it to your Screencast account, and from there you can get an embed code to put it in a blog or other page.
The experimental Jing is great, but oddly, the well-established Screencast.com site is the weak link in the chain. It's unattractive, and the links you need are nearly impossible to find. Plus, after 60 days, the free trial service expires--so don't get hooked if you can't stomach the $6.95 a month fee for screencast hosting. What I'd really like to see is a quick and easy way to upload Jing files to YouTube , Blip.TV , Viddler , or other free sharing sites. That would kill part of TechSmith's revenue model, though.
If you need to do serious screencast editing, the full Camtasia product is worth looking at. And, of course, you can grab graphics from Windows without any download at all . But for a clean, flexible, and almost fun way to grab pictures and onscreen videos, Jing really can't be beat.
Update: Chris Pirillo raised a good point via Twitter : Jing has less than no YouTube support. It produces Flash SWF files, which YouTube doesn't read. That's a colossal omission in a video product these days.
The following video was made, of course, with Jing.
Here are a final few tidbits from my last day at Siggraph:
Microsoft Research gave a great presentation on HD View , a company project based on capturing, assembling, and displaying multi-gigapixel image. These images are stitched together from hundreds of pictures captured through a telephoto lens on a computer-controlled telescope mount. Users can zoom into these images to the limit of the individual pictures.
The Web site for HD View works only for Internet Explorer and Firefox browsers on Windows, but includes a link to xRez , a similar but independent effort that works well in the Safari browser on Macs.
At one point during the Microsoft presentation, the speaker clicked over into a new image and immediately the screen went blue, showing a typical Windows debugger screen. After some audience applause, the presenter returned to the mouse and zoomed back, showing that the error message was actually a virtual easter egg hidden in the sky in a picture of Seattle. Apparently that image contains several of these secret features hidden among its 3.6 billion pixels...
Qualcomm was in the Emerging Technologies showcase showing the first commercial product based on its IMOD display technology. This technology uses deformable reflective membranes within each pixel to switch the pixel between black and a primary color--red, green or blue.
The membranes hold their position when power is removed, making the IMOD technology suitable for use in low-power devices. The first IMOD product is the UBHS-PH2 from Ubixon, a Bluetooth headset controller gizmo that can show simple information such as SMS messages and song titles from a connected smart phone.
Qualcomm's IMOD technology competes with electrophoretic displays from E Ink and others . IMOD offers better color and faster switching, but it isn't as far along in development. I expect we'll be seeing more of it in time.
In that same blog entry, I also mentioned field-emission display technology, but only in passing. Now I think it deserves a little more attention, because there were some really amazing FED displays from Field Emission Technologies in the Siggraph exhibition area.
FET was showing a 19.2-inch display that can be refreshed at 240Hz, four to six times the typical rates of LCDs. Although the display had only 1,280x720 addressable pixels, fewer than today's LCDs of the same size, it looked much sharper when displaying fast-moving images because of the high frame rate.
In the long run, FEDs can achieve much higher resolution than LCDs. The Siggraph prototype display actually has over 10,000 subpixels underneath each pixel, each consisting of a microscopic electron gun like the one in a cathode-ray tube; all of these subpixels are connected together. A FET representative explained that the large number of subpixels overcomes the inherent variability of the manufacturing process, but I'm sure there are other ways to deal with that issue.
As good as these displays looked at Siggraph, FEDs may be closer to production than I thought. Although the flat-panel display market is already crowded, FEDs might fit in with the gaming market, where high frame rates are especially valuable. We'll see...
I also learned that Siggraph is planning some changes for 2008, notably earlier deadlines for research papers and facilities rearranged along theme lines. Apparently not all the details are settled yet, but if you're interested in attending or participating, you should probably check out the Siggraph 2008 Web site.
Updated at 1:30 p.m. PDT with closing information.
Shares of Yahoo and Microsoft gave up ground Monday, following the passing of Microsoft's closely watched Saturday deadline without the parties hammering out a merger deal .
Shares of Yahoo closed at $26.43 Monday, off 1.38 percent from its close of $26.80 on Friday. Investors were initially feeling a little more bullish at the start of the session, pushing the shares up as high as $27.09.
Throughout the day, Yahoo's stock tried to rally, but toward the end of the trading day began to slump.
Microsoft shares, meanwhile, closed at $28.99 per share, down about 3 percent from Friday's close. The software giant's share price largely edged down throughout the trading day.
And as Microsoft's shares dip, the value of its initial cash-stock offer price of $31 a share on February 1 further declines .
This week, Microsoft is expected to lay out its next plan of action , which executives ranging from CEO Steve Ballmer to chief bean counter Chris Liddell have previously said could include going directly to Yahoo shareholders via a tender offer or a proxy fight , as well as withdrawing the offer .
CNET News.com readers who participated in our poll regarding Microsoft's options are largely betting that it will "walk away" from the acquisition bid, with 44.8 percent of the votes. A close 39 percent are betting on a proxy fight, and 16.2 percent say a tender offer is likely.
Keep in mind that Microsoft could do all three, and in any order.
One path that Microsoft could take, for example, assuming that Yahoo doesn't call an annual shareholder meeting in the interim, would be to withdraw its offer for a month or two, and let Yahoo's stock give up some ground.
It may not make sense for Microsoft to roll out its proxy slate until it gets closer to forcing Yahoo to hold a shareholder meeting. At the earliest point, it could head to the Delaware Chancery Court to make the request July 13.
In the meantime, between withdrawing its offer and announcing its proxy slate, Microsoft may want to announce a tender offer, giving investors a real piece of meat to put on their plate and, hence, a reason to vote in Microsoft's opposition slate. The question is, will that piece be tasty enough for investors?
In a show of literary creativity not frequently seen in the business software market, one Microsoft Business Solutions partner has dedicated a nine stanza poem to its frustrations with the software giant.
Mark Rockwell, chief executive of Rockton Software, a Microsoft partner based in Puyallup, Washington, first delivered the elegy to company executives last month at the software maker's partner conference in Minneapolis. Rockton has since posted the tribute to its Web site in the name of spreading its CEO's message.
Some sections of the poem praise Microsoft for doing a better job than in years past working with its business software partners, which support the company's Great Plains, Navision, Axapta and CRM product lines . However, the most enlightening stanzas deal with the changes Rockwell has observed since Microsoft purchased South Dakota-based Great Plains Software in 2000 and assumed control of the company's products and support.
"Our support incidents first took their great dive, When we went from 200 way down to five, While we used to call Fargo and get help right away, Now I call Redmond for a 4-hour delay."
"And what product" they ask, "do I need support on?" "Dexterity" I say -- and then I hear a dead calm. "It's a Microsoft product!" I try to explain, and you hear their mouths curl with a little disdain."
"I give up!" I just say -- "Just give me Great Plains," "I'm tired of playing this repetitive game," If you'd let me call Fargo direct for support, I'd get so much more done in a time that's more short."
Moving beyond the support complaints, which one can expect to hear at almost any vendor's partner meetings, Rockwell took direct aim at Microsoft's emerging vertical sales strategy within the MBS group. The plan stresses that Microsoft's technology resellers try to attach themselves to certain business markets in the name of providing specialized support.
Rockwell and some others have complained that they'd rather sell applications using a broader, or "horizontal" approach that isn't quite so industry specific. To that end he wrote:
"The next issue I raise - As ISV's it hacks us, You seem to think there's only a vertical axis, Your systems are designed with pigeon holes, where ISVs can serve in only one role."
"There's a huge number of us who are horizontal, But you want us to specialize it things like "periodontal," My point is just this - Microsoft must resort, To give horizontals their complete support."
Microsoft has not said whether it plans to address Rockwell's plea in the form of a sonnet or haiku. In 2004, the executive first made waves at the partner conference by delivering his complaints to the software giant in the form of a song .