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Mar 25, 2012

Foxconn Building "iPhone 5 Base" in Tai Yuan

Foxconn is reportedly looking to recruit no less than 20,000 workers that will be tasked with assembling the next-generation iPhone 5. At the same time, hundreds are going on strike because Foxconn allegedly failed to compensate them properly.

Reports from The China Morning News and M.I.C. Gadget reveal that “Foxconn in Tai Yuan is now building a new base for iPhone 5 production.”

An insider at Tai Yuan Foxconn tells the press that, “As long as they meet the basic standards, (we’ll) take as many as possible.”

The news comes just as other reports say that hundreds of Foxconn workers from a factory in Shanxi Province in northern China have gone on strike.

The strike is said to be taking place at a factory in the Xiaodian district of the provincial capital Tai Yuan.

The protesters reportedly said that Foxconn had promised to increase their pay, whereas only the managers and the technicians got compensated. The entry-level workers thus went o strike.

The generally well connected M.I.C. Gadget specifically notes that “Foxconn has already received orders for the production of iPhone 5,” and that the company will handle as much as 85 percent of the production, which comes down to about 57 million handsets a year.

As for the Tai Yuan base, it will reportedly become the main manufacturing plant of the iPhone 5.

Foxconn has been heavily scrutinized for the way it treats its workers. There have been numerous reports saying that the company offers preferential treatment, depending on the worker's rank.

The low-end workers (so to speak) - those who handle the actual assembly process of Apple’s iDevices - are said to be “discarded” once they can no longer reach their quota. One staffer once reportedly said that Foxconn treats women like men, and men like machines.

It is important to note that these reports are highly debatable, and that such claims are not consistent among Foxconn workers in general.

OS X Mountain Lion Features: Game Center

Apple never said it was getting serious about gaming on iOS but, eventually, it did. So the next natural step was to do that for the Mac as well. And it’s all going down in OS X Mountain Lion, available in late summer.

“Mac gets in on the game,” reads the Game Center marketing page on Apple.com. “The Mac is about to go up against iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch — in a friendly Game Center way. Now it’s a bigger playing field with even more competition.”

OS X Mountain Lion will allow you to create a Game Center account with your Apple ID right on your Mac. You won’t need an iOS device to do it, as is the current requirement.

You’ll be able to spot all your Game Center friends, challenge them to a multiplayer game (or play co-op, depending on the title), even go against people you’ve never met.

Game Center has leaderboards that show how your score ranks against other players’ scores around the world, and it even suggests new games based on the ones you have, or the ones that your friends are playing.

You could say Game Center is like Facebook for video game fans, as it lets you send friend requests to gamers on the Mac, iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch all around the world.

You can also assign email addresses to your account, so that others can find you easily.

Best of all, you can compete in cross-platform games like Real Racing 2. For example, you could be playing on your Mac, while your opponents are all on iOS devices, like iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad.

Game Center is just one of many new features in OS X Mountain Lion that have been borrowed from iOS. Visit the related links below for more coverage on the key features in Apple’s upcoming desktop operating system.

Script: Vanilla Forum

Vanilla Forum is one of the most used open-source PHP systems for running an online bulletin/message board. From support forums to troll-haunted tech boards or just a simple Q&A consultancy website, Vanilla can handle it in stride.

If an avid forum troll, you might have recently noticed a massive change regarding the platform most forums run on.

Once the king of all open-sourced forum systems was phpBB, but for 1-2 years now, especially in tech and support forums, the main choice has been Vanilla.

Boasting a fast admin panel, a constantly growing modules repository and a unique and memorable interface for displaying forum topics, Vanilla is one of our Editors' go-to script when it comes to recommending an open-source forum to our users.

Of course, we weren't the only ones that noticed Vanilla. Some big name companies like Mozilla, Penny Arcade, HubSpot, PremiumPixels, CSS-Tricks and many more are using it for their communities as well.

Download Vanilla Forum here.

Finally, a Plausible iPhone 5 Rumor

A fairly believable iPhone 5 leak has emerged mentioning 4G LTE radio, a similar (if not identical) screen size / form factor, and a micro dock connector.

iMore‘s Rene Ritchie has some well connected sources who are telling him that the iPhone 5,1, as it is being referred to in iOS betas, will have: "similar if not same sized screen (currently 3.5-inch but not set in stone); 4G LTE radio; new “micro dock” connector; fall/October 2012 release."

Apart from the “micro dock” connector (which isn’t all that far fetched either), all these details seem highly plausible.

There have been numerous rumors that Apple will increase the size of its iPhone to support a 4-inch display. While that may work for other smartphone vendors, Apple seems to be fine with the 3.5-inch size of the display.

However, if there will be a larger screen on the next iPhone, it will most likely be achieved by reducing the size of the bezel - not by changing the handset’s entire form factor.

The 4G LTE radio is pretty much a given. Not only has Apple already introduced one LTE-capable device this year (the third-generation iPad), the iPhone 5 would simply appear crippled in the face of other vendor’s handsets, should it not support the standard.

Finally, the launch date.

It is still being speculated that WWDC 12 may see the iPhone 5 introduced. However, it has become increasingly apparent that Apple has moved the iPhone’s refresh cycle to the fourth quarter.

Until last year, Apple launched each and every new iPhone in summer. In 2011, the iPhone 4S broke that cycle by launching in fall.

Apple’s annual developer event this year is not expected to bring back the summer-refresh cycle. Instead, the conference will most likely focus on a new preview of OS X Mountain Lion, and iOS 6.

By simple deduction, the next-generation iPhone will most likely debut in fall as well.

Apple Rejecting Apps that Access UDIDs

Facing pressure from regulators regarding how apps can obtain and share user data, Apple has commissioned two of its ten review teams to start rejecting iOS software that accesses the UDID (unique device identifier).

Sources with alleged knowledge of Apple’s plans are telling TechCrunch that two of a total of 10 review teams “started doing blanket rejections of apps that access UDIDs this week.”

Of the 10 teams Apple uses as a net for the tens of thousands of apps being submitted each week, four will be commissioned for the job next week.

The number will keep escalating until all teams will be “turning down apps that are still using UDIDs.”
The report quotes Jim Payne, who led mobile advertising network AdMob before it sold to Google for $750 million. Payne said: “The UDID is essential for managing the conversion loop. All the performance dollars that are spent on mobile are going to impacted by this not being there.”

Victor Rubba, chief executive of Fluik, said “Everyone’s scrambling to get something into place. We’re trying to be proactive and we’ve already moved to an alternative scheme.”

Fluik makes iOS games, including Office Jerk and Plumber Crack. The studio is based in Canada. Rubba is refraining himself from issuing any updates until he can better assess the situation caused by Apple’s recent change of heart.

Playhaven, a company that helps developers monetize more than 1,200 games across iOS and Android tells TechCrunch that, in a week’s time, several of its customers have been rejected.

Playhaven’s CEO, Andy Yang, advises developers to be flexible and support multiple ID systems until one of them is deemed fit for Apple’s requirements.

“This is definitely happening,” Yang said. “In the next month or two, this is going to have an impact on all ad networks and apps using advertising. Everybody’s trying to make their own choices about what to use instead.”

Script: MediaElement.js

MediaElement.js is a library for creating audio and video players that work with the new HTML 5 audio and video tags.

The library is different from all other similar tools because it does not create HTML5 audio/video players and then offers a Flash fallback for older browsers.

MediaElement.js uses a totally new concept of Flash Fallforward (instead of fallback), upgrading the browser with custom Flash and Silverlight plugins that mimic the W3C HTML5 MediaElement API.

This ensures ancient browsers like IE 6, 7 and 8 can work nicely with <audio> and <video>, and music and movie formats can work across all browsers, regardless if they have been implemented or not. Yes, this means WebM in Safari, h.264 in Opera and many more.

Of course, MediaElement.js is skinnable, allowing project developers to create their own player theme that fits their site's native design.

Download MediaElement.js below.

Facebook's Full Page Logout Ads Go for $700,000, €529,000

A few weeks ago a new type of Facebook ads made the rounds, the logout page ad. It's the biggest display ad Facebook has to offer and it has some unique, and not quite obvious advantages. One question though was how much do they cost.

We have a price now and because of it we know the advertisers Facebook is targeting with this ad unit as well. AdAge says Facebook is asking $700,000 for the full page ad per day so, clearly, only big name advertisers are going to afford it.

There's a catch, the ads can be bought on their own, they're bundled with home-page ads so you're not paying the full sum just for them. In fact, the homepage ads go for $550,000, €415,000 with the logout option being $160,000, €121,000 extra.

Facebook said some 37 million Americans log out each day so he ads certainly reach a wide audience.

Chrome OS Laptop Examined by FCC, Sony VAIO Is the Brand

We've barely heard anything about Chromebooks over the past few months, but it looks like the idea hasn't completely been abandoned.

We don't base this conclusion on anything official, not really, even though Sony is, essentially, the one that enabled us to draw it.

What happened was that a certain product developed by this particular company passed through the testing labs of the Federal Communications Commission.

For those who don't know, products that communicate over Wi-Fi or 3G have to pass a screening by the FCC before they are given the green light to start selling.

The one that has now come to our attention is Sony's VAIO VCC111 Series, the company's first Chromebook.

In other words, it is a laptop running the Google Chrome operating system (Chrome OS).

A label on the base of the netbook identifies the processor as a T25, which means that a dual-core NVIDIA Tegra SoC (system-on-chip) runs everything.

Considering that all previous Chromebooks used Intel Atom chips, this is quite a departure from the norm (Tegra uses ARM cores).

The filing reveals some other details, such as the diagonal length of 11.6 inches for the LCD (liquid crystal display). Speaking of which, the panel itself is Samsung-made.

Moving on, the product runs on a the energy provided by a 4100 mAh battery, but the length of time it will last remains to be seen.

Needless to say, Sony's VAIO VCC111 Series comes with the whole wireless spiel: Bluetooth, 802.11 b/g/n WiFi and 3G.

Finally, a small solid state drive holds the OS (and little else, since Chromebooks work in the cloud), while an SD card reader and two USB 2.0 ports permit external storage devices to be utilized. As for using auxiliary displays, an HDMI port is part of the spec sheet.

For people who have some time to waste, the FCC filing is available here.

Comice OS 4 Final Officially Released

Introduced last month, the final version of the Comice OS 4 Linux operating system, built on top of the GNOME 3 desktop environment and customized to look like Mac OS, has arrived, on March 23rd.

Comice OS 4 is based on both Ubuntu 11.10 and Ubuntu 12.04 LTS distributions, containing Linux kernel 3.2, GNOME 3.2.2, Mozilla Firefox 11, Mozilla Thunderbird 11, LibreOffice 3.5, Clementine, Shotwell, Totem Movie Player, BleachBit, Adobe Flash Player plug-in and Synaptic Package Manager.

Comice OS 4 (previously known as Pear OS) also contains the Pear Appstore, which features parallel downloading, resuming of downloads, updates notifier, cache cleaner, and one-click installation.

Comice OS 4 is distributed as Live DVD ISO images for both the 32-bit and 64-bit architectures.

Download Comice OS 4
Comice OS 4.0 (ISO) 32-bit [1.1 GB]
via Sourceforge
via Mirror 1
via Mirror 2
Comice OS 4.0 (ISO) 64-bit [1.3 GB]

via Sourceforge
via Mirror 1
via Mirror 2
Comice OS 4.0 (ISO) 32-bit Netbook Edition [868 MB]
via Sourceforce
Comice OS 4.0 (ISO) KDE Edition 32-bit [beta 1] [1.2 GB]
via Sourceforge
via Mirror 1
via Mirror 2

RIM Offers Devs BlackBerry 10 Prototype Smartphones in May

Research In Motion is trying to keep developers close now more than ever. The company has just confirmed it will offer them BlackBerry 10 prototype smartphones at its May event in Orlando.

It's unclear if all attendees at the event will get the device or just a fair number of lucky developers. What's certain is that RIM will demonstrate lots of new toolsets for the upcoming BlackBerry 10 operating system.

It appears that RIM will release the first beta of BlackBerry 10 Developer Tools at BlackBerry 10 Jam conference, which will take place in Orlando from May 1st through May 3rd.

The Canadian company has jusct confirmed on its developer site that the following tools will be demoed during the conference: BlackBerry 10 Native SDK, BlackBerry 10 WebWorks SDK, BlackBerry 10 SDK for Adobe Air, and BlackBerry 10 SDK for Android apps.

Moreover devs will have the chance to have hands-on time with these tools and have all sorts of tips and trick revealed by RIM's employees that will attend to the event.

According to RIM, the prototype unit that will be given to developers is just smartphone that will run modified version of PlayBook OS. Obviously, this is not the final version of the software, which will probably be announced this fall.

“This is not a BlackBerry 10 smartphone – it is a prototype running a modified version of the PlayBook OS which will help developers design their apps for the BlackBerry 10 smartphone form factor. Just to be 100% clear – it’s not the final hardware or OS for BlackBerry 10 – it’s a device to help developers get started with designing for what’s coming.“

Keep in mind that the BlackBerry 10 Dev Alpha is only available for devs who are attending to this BlackBerry 10 Jam conference in May. Stay tuned for more updates on the matter.

Script: Sweet Tooltip

Sweet Tooltip is a jQuery and CSS 3-based tooltips framework for creating visually appealing, animated hover tooltips.

There are many tooltips systems out there, but not many rely solely on code to render the tooltip graphics.

Sure, there are a couple of good ones like Tipsy, jqTip or qTip, but none of them was updated to use the latest CSS 3 syntax.

Utilizing new styles made possible by CSS 3 features like linear-gradient, box-shadow, text-shadow, :after and :before selectors, Sweet Tooltip creates heavenly-looking graphics with just a few lines of code.

On the other hand, jQuery is used for animating the tooltips and acquiring the tooltip text from the hovered element.

Check out the Sweet Tooltip demo here.

Download Sweet Tooltip here.

Nokia to Launch 808 PureView in the UK Only in May

Finnish mobile phone maker Nokia is gearing up for the release of its most advanced camera phone to date, the Nokia 808 Pure View

Made official at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain, the handset will arrive on shelves with Symbian on board and with a 41-megapixel photo snapper on the back. 

What hasn’t been made official as of yet is a release date for the device. The latest reports on the matter, however, suggest that May might be the lucky timeframe for enthusiasts. 

According to the guys over at KingOfGadgets, the handset will land only in the middle of the second quarter of the year, though no official confirmation on the matter has been delivered as of yet. 

Nokia’s latest Symbian phone runs under Belle and sports a 1.3GHz single-core processor and a 4-inch ClearBlack AMOLED touchscreen, along with 16GB of internal storage and Dolby Digital Plus for 5.1 Surround Sound.

Acer's Ultrabook Aspire Timeline Ultra Uses Kepler GPU

Microsoft, NVIDIA and Acer have jointly announced the Aspire Timeline Ultra, the first ultrabook to use a discrete GPU from NVIDIA's 600M series.

When we covered the NVIDIA GeForce 600M notebook graphics line, we didn't have many examples to give in terms of laptops equipped with them.

That situation has now changed, thanks to an apparently joint effort on the part of Microsoft and Acer.

The Acer Aspire Timeline Ultra has become the first ultrabook to incorporate one of the GPUs, specifically the GeForce GT640M.

As an extra divergence from the regular ultrabook mold, the 15-inch item comes with a DVD drive.

“It’s for the consumers who are looking for a laptop that will meet their needs today but also anticipate the things they’ll be doing nine months to a year out,” siad Sumit Agnihotry, vice president of product marketing for Acer’s Americas region.

“You are able to multitask, play premium video games and so on, but at the same time, it’s portable enough that you can take it with you at any time. Looking at that experience overall, we think it’s something that will become a must-have instead of nice-to-have today.”

By Acer's reckoning, as well as that of its launch partners, the Aspire Timeline Ultra is able to last for as much as eight hours on a single battery charge.

It is also possible to replace the SSD with a hard disk drive with built-in NAND Flash, making it a hybrid. That way, Acer Green Instant-On feature will always be supported.

The rest of the specs are the same as the usual: full HD LCD, Intel CPU, various ports and network connectors, speakers, etc.

“Acer truly focuses on the consumer,” says Johnny Liu, senior director on the OEM engineering team at Microsoft.

“But it also works closely with other companies to improve the overall experience, finding the right partners to help it improve sound quality, connectivity and other features that really matter to people today.”

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