Attention Apple-gadget-owning WordPress users! Have you been using the WordPress iOS app for iPhone and iPad? Or maybe you tried it a while back and thought it wasn’t for you? Either way, the new release — v2.6 — will knock your socks off. Why? A bunch of reasons:
- Video. Record, upload, attach, and play videos within the app. Yay for being able to catch your friends’ and co-workers’ most
embarrassing shenaniganscreative moments with iPhone video and publish them immediately for all the world to see on your WordPress site.
- A total rewrite of the way local drafts are handled, to prevent the unintentional loss of your pending posts.
- Autosave/post revisions. Bam! One of the “oh, thank goodness” features of the web app makes it into the iOS version.
- Easier setup. Faster and easier process for adding your sites to the app.
- Media Library. We’re gradually getting closer to the media management you’re used to in the web app.
There are also numerous bugfixes and performance enhancements in this release, so if you haven’t been using the app lately, you should consider giving it another try. I’m personally pretty excited to start using the iPhone version more often now that there are all these fixes and new features. Especially the video upload. You know, for those creative moments that make life fun.
You can read the full 2.6 release post on the WordPress for iOS blog, and can download v2.6 from iTunes/the app store. Happy mobile blogging!
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Not an iPhone user? We’ve still got your on-the-go back! Check out the WordPress apps for Android, Blackberry, and Nokia (beta). They’re all 100% GPL, of course, and we’re always looking for contributors to the development projects, so check the blogs if you have mobile dev skills and want to get involved.Tags: apps - Cloud Hosting - Coding Web 3.0 - development - download - features - full - HD Video - Hi-Def Multimedia (HD) - HTML 5 - manage - management - Media - mobile - Multimedia and Video Platforms - Multimedia News - Music on The Web - ogg - Online Marketing - Open Source Software (OSS) - performance - site - The Bleeding Edge of Tech - The Blog Roll - upload - video - Vlog
While driving, it’s tempting to hit the gas when one of your favorite jams plays on the stereo, but a new iPhone app discourages music-induced speeding.
Shown in the video above, the app Slow Down uses the iPhone’s sensors to track how fast you’re driving. If you go a few miles over the speed limit, it slows down the tempo of any track playing from your music library. And if you exceed by more than 6 miles per hour, the music stops completely until you resume driving at a normal speed again. Goofy but clever, though I’d imagine it getting annoying when you need to pass people up on the freeway.
Slow Down is a free app [iTunes] in the App Store.
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Research in Motion announced this morning that it acquired Swedish interface design firm TAT, whose initials stand for The Astonishing Tribe.
RIM clearly plans to use the Swedes’ talent to beef up future versions of the BlackBerry user interface, which despite the addition of touchscreen tech in the last year still seems clunky and quaint compared to iOS, Android and Windows Phone 7. That could make future BlackBerry phones — not to mention the upcoming Playbook tablet — a whole lot more exciting.
That got us wondering: What might the future, TAT-enhanced BlackBerry UI look like?
We have no idea, but if these concept videos produced by TAT are any indication, we’re guessing your next BlackBerry might have:
- A touch- and motion-sensitive UI that reponds to your body’s movement as well as your fingers on the screen
- Eye-tracking technology to provide enhanced 3-D effects
- A slicker, easier-to-manage interface for switching between multiple apps
- Eye-popping 2-D and 3-D visuals
What do you think the future holds for BlackBerry? Let us know in the comments.
This page: TAT’s vision of the “Future of Screen Technology” video (also embedded below) includes some pretty eye-popping examples of touchscreens embedded into every aspect of daily life. A man wakes up and checks the news on a stretchable screen that starts out iPhone-sized, but which he pulls on to make it nearly iPad-sized. A woman brushes her teeth while reading headlines and checking her calendar on a touchscreen mirror. A man composes a sport publication on a translucent touchscreen display whose images he can flip around, so coworkers on the other side of the screen can see them. Cool stuff!
Just when we all thought we’d never see it again, the cross-browser bookmark syncing service Xmarks has received a life-saving injection.
Xmarks will live on as a freemium service. The initial cross-browser syncing tool you’re already familiar with will be free, but users will be encouraged to upgrade to a paid subscription to unlock more advanced features. It’s the same model employed by LastPass for its own Premium version of its (otherwise free) password-syncing service.
Xmarks Premium will be offered for $1 per month ($12 per year) and it comes with some new features like apps for the iPhone and Android phones, and technical support. You will also be able to bundle the premium offerings from LastPass and Xmarks together for $20 per year.
There’s already an iPhone app for Xmarks, and the company just recently released an Android app, too. Xmarks says anyone currently using the iPhone app can continue to use it without upgrading to the premium service, but they will have to buy in to the $12 per year plan to get future upgrades.
It looked like curtains for Xmarks in September, when the company announced it would shut down its service in early 2011.
Apparently, there’s no money in a free bookmark syncing service, and the company was facing new competition from the cloud-based syncing systems being built into Firefox and Chrome. Even though Xmarks one-ups those built-in single-browser services by syncing bookmarks across all your browsers, it couldn’t stay afloat.
The service has some 4.5 million users, and there was an outcry when Xmarks announced the shutdown. Later, the company asked its fans if they would be willing to pay a subscription fee to keep Xmarks alive. Over 30,000 of them pledged to do so, and that was enough to attract the attention of LastPass.
The two companies will continue to operate under independent brands, though they may merge everything later.
So, it turns out this dark story of cloud computing had a silver lining after all.
- Xmarks to Continue Syncing Bookmarks, Thanks to Loyal Fans
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The latest developer channel release of the Chrome browser now supports sandboxing for Adobe’s Flash Player on Windows 7, Vista and XP.
Windows users on the dev channel should see the update arrive automatically. We should note that the sandbox does have some bugs and may break other parts of the browser — this is a developer release, after all. Once the kinks are ironed out, all of these sandboxing features will begin making their way into proper stable Chrome releases.
Google’s Chromium team has been working with Adobe to build better Flash controls into Chrome, and to utilize Chrome’s sandboxing technology for the plug-in. Google says Wednesday’s update makes Chrome the only browser on XP that sandboxes Flash. For more about sandboxing and how Chrome is implementing it, read the overview post on the Chromium blog from October. Also, Wednesday’s release comes less than a month after Chrome introduced click-to-play controls for Flash and other plug-ins.
Adobe’s Flash Player is the most widely-used browser plug-in on the web, and it’s the dominant choice for video playback and games online. Even so, the technology gets beat up for performance issues and its security shortcomings, and it’s still falling out of favor among standards enthusiasts who are pushing HTML5 as the better solution for displaying multimedia in the browser.
Adobe also released a new beta version of the Flash Player on Wednesday that improves some of its performance issues.
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Microsoft’s PhotoSynth tool is jaw-droppingly awesome. But, because it’s a Microsoft project, the technology is unlikely to appear on some of your favorite non-Microsoft online apps, like Google Maps or Flickr.
However, our friends at ReadWriteWeb stumbled across a very similar tool — at least in terms of the end result — developed by the University of North Carolina in conjunction with Swiss university, ETH-Zurich.
The team has developed a method for creating 3D models by pulling in millions of photographs from Flickr and using some fancy algorithms to generate 3D models of local landmarks. Perhaps even more impressive the results can be generated using a single computer in under a day.
Project lead Jan-Michael Frahm touts the project’s efficiency saying, “our technique would be the equivalent of processing a stack of photos as high as the 828-meter Dubai Towers, using a single PC, versus the next best technique, which is the equivalent of processing a stack of photos 42 meters tall — as high as the ceiling of Notre Dame — using 62 PCs. This efficiency is essential if one is to fully utilize the billions of user-provided images continuously being uploaded to the internet.”
While the results are cool and would make an impressive addition to any number of geo-based services, more serious use cases include helping disaster workers get a better idea of where they’re headed and the extent of damage.
So far the researchers have released a movies demonstrating the technique on landmarks in both Rome (get it? built in a day…) and Berlin, and the results are impressive. For more information on how the process works, check out the UNC website.
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Accessibility in web design has come a long way since the days of table-based layouts with single-pixel .gif spacers. But even current best practices are far from perfect.
Today, we’ll tell you a bit more about these accessibility troubles as they relate to dynamic web apps — fitting, as today is Blue Beanie Day. For four years now, design guru Jeffrey Zeldman has encouraged web authors to wear a blue beanie on November 30 to show their support for web standards. Also, you’re encouraged to take a picture of yourself wearing a blue beanie and upload it to a Flickr pool. So, with standards quite literally on the brain, we’ll tackle the topic of rich web apps.
One of the coolest things about web apps is that elements refresh inside the browser without reloading the page. But most screen readers used by those with disabilities can’t parse these changes, so users who rely on them will remain unaware of any dynamically refreshed elements on the page. That’s just one of the many problems that WAI-ARIA, an emerging specification for Accessible Rich Internet Applications from the W3C, is hoping to solve.
At its core, WAI-ARIA is a means of annotating page elements with the roles, properties, and states that define exactly what those elements do. Take a navigation element as a simple example. In HTML5 we might do something like this:
<nav> <ul> <li>Home <li><a href="/about/">About</a></li> ...etc... </ul> </nav>
While it might seem that the
tag would defining the nav element’s “role,” not every browser will understand it (just because the browser can display it, does not mean it understands the tag). Also, the purpose of a navigation element may be obvious to most users, but to a screen reader being used by somebody who can’t see, the navigation strip could be just a jumble of words. Leveraging WAI-ARIA’s syntax, we can double up to ensure screen readers will know that this chunk of code is navigation:
<nav role="navigation"> <ul> <li>Home</li> <li><a href="/about/">About</a></li> ...etc... </ul> </nav>
attribute is what’s known as a landmark role and is designed to let non-visual browsers know where they are.
It seems simple, and indeed when the spec is finished and fully supported by all the major screen readers, WAI-ARIA promises to make the web more accessible without overly complicating your markup. Unfortunately, there are numerous problems with WAI-ARIA at the moment, which make support uneven and can be confusing for web authors trying to do the right thing.
Our friends at A List Apart recently waded into the confusion and uneven support with two great posts on WAI-ARIA and how you can use it (and not use it) on your sites. The first article, The Accessibility of WAI-ARIA, dives into what WAI-ARIA is, what it’s trying to do, and why it’s not yet a panacea.
As Derek Featherstone writes in his ALA piece:
The problem that we have right now is that ARIA is an all or nothing deal. And writing scripts that respect both an ARIA supported methodology and a non-ARIA methodology is going to be incredibly difficult, because we have no reliable way of knowing the status of a user agent’s support for ARIA—it depends on something we can’t detect: the right combination of browser, assistive technology, and full ARIA implementation.
For more information on the various levels of support in screen readers and web browsers, have a look at Accessible Culture’s article, HTML5 plus ARIA “Sanity Check.” The post highlights some of the bugs, pitfalls and gotchas in current screen readers, as well as some workarounds and other non-ARIA solutions.
As Detlev Fischer writes in the first of the two ALA articles, “as long as older screen reader/browser combinations incapable of interpreting WAI-ARIA still constitute a significant part of the installed base, web designers who care for accessibility should use WAI-ARIA markup only to enrich their sites.”
In other words, use WAI-ARIA, but don’t rely on it. Make sure you have fallbacks in place until the spec is finalized and browser/reader support more widespread.
Unicorn photo from Wikimedia Commons/CC
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Tucked deep down inside of Windows Phone 7 is a security measure that lets Microsoft remove or disable apps gone rogue. Competitors Apple and Google also offer the feature.Tags: apps - Cloud Hosting - Coding Web 3.0 - HD Video - Hi-Def Multimedia (HD) - HTML 5 - Multimedia and Video Platforms - Multimedia News - Music on The Web - Online Marketing - Open Source Software (OSS) - The Bleeding Edge of Tech - The Blog Roll - Vlog
Buyers of an LG Windows Phone 7 handset get to choose 10 free, third-party software apps they’ll be able to install on their new device.Tags: apps - Cloud Hosting - Coding Web 3.0 - HD Video - Hi-Def Multimedia (HD) - HTML 5 - Multimedia and Video Platforms - Multimedia News - Music on The Web - Online Marketing - Open Source Software (OSS) - software - The Bleeding Edge of Tech - The Blog Roll - Vlog
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