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Apr 22, 2012

Script: Pixie CMS

Pixie CMS is a lightweight CMS for quickly building and deploying your small website project.

We already featured so many similar CMS projects in our “Script of the Day” series, so you might want to know what's so different about Pixie. Our answer is its backend.

When we tested it for the first time, over two years ago, our team was completely surprised, and in a nice way we might add, to find an unique approach to its architecture and style.

But at a closer look, we found out that underneath that innovative approach, Pixie was boasting all the features you might ever expect from a CMS. Themes, plugins, syndication, WYSIWYG editing, backup manager, file browser, multilingual support, SEO settings; it was all there and much more also.

To follow Pixie CMS  development, check out its Google Code page for news and feature requests.

Download  Pixie CMS here.

HTC One S Gets Launched in Japan as HTC J

Major carrier KDDI has just announced the upcoming availability of the HTC J smartphone in Japan. This is in fact the Japanese version of the HTC One S, which has just been released on the market.

Unfortunately, Japanese customers will only be able to purchase the HTC J later this summer for a price that will be disclosed in due time. However, it is worth mentioning the smartphone will be delivered with free UrBeats headphones in the sales package.

Obviously, HTC J will run Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich platform with HTC Sense 4 UI on top. It will also be packed with a Snapdragon S4 chipset that features two dual-core processors clocked at 1.5 GHz.

In addition, it has a 4.3-inch Super AMOLED capacitive touchscreen, 16GB of internal memory, microSD card slot for memory expansion, an 8-megapixel rear camera and a 1.3-megapixel front facing photo snapper.

The WiMAX-enabled device will come with support for One-Seg mobile wallet service, infrared port and a 1810 mAh battery.

No iPad mini to Counterattack the Windows 8 Army, Says Apple Specialist

A report stemming from a Chinese portal is dishing out new rumors about Apple releasing a smaller tablet in the third quarter of 2012 to “counterattack the Windows 8 army.” One person who is knowledgeable regarding Apple’s strategy says this is not likely to happen.

eWeek spoke with Michael Oh, the president of a company that specializes in Apple products called TechSuperpowers. Mr. Oh said he believes Apple is not going there.

First and foremost, he said, “the space in that sub-$300 tablet sector is really crowded, or it will be very soon.”

Second, Mr. Oh doesn’t see Apple dividing up their product lines - at least not with the iPod touch still selling.

“They look at specific use cases—like the iPod shuffle, for people who like to go running or are on the go, or the iPod touch, which is their premium model for people who want to download applications,” he said.

“With the tablet line, it’s difficult for me to differentiate between different tablets other than size. If they do it, there would have to be something very unique about it to differentiate it from the larger iPad,” he said.

Oh agrees that “It is possible that Apple may look at it from a standpoint of ‘let's corner the market’ and put the nail in the coffin of Android or Microsoft. Apple sells on value, not necessarily on price. I don’t think it’s compatible with their current business model. But they could change significantly if they wanted to.”

And he also admits that if Apple did roll out a smaller iPad, he would have no choice but to buy it.

“Oh yeah, of course, I’d buy one,” he said. “Part of the perks of my job is having one of everything. But it would have to be really thin and very sexy.”

Analyst Determines the iPhone 5 Launch Date from a Single Chip

A renowned analyst employed by the investment bank and asset management firm Piper Jaffray is convinced Apple’s next iPhone will be “the mother of all upgrades”, and that “there’s going to be lines around shopping malls to get this.”

Gene Munster’s reasoning is a natural one. Apple’s iPhone 4S was a software upgrade, rather than a refresh based on new aesthetics and new hardware-based benefits. Aside from Siri, the iPhone 4S is pretty much just a faster iPhone 4 - and only to the trained eye.

As such, the analyst is convinced Apple’s next iPhone - the iPhone 5, as it is being referred in the media - will launch with a killer new design, as well as faster LTE networking, and a bigger display.

In his interview with Bloomberg West anchor Jon Erlichman, Munster doesn’t weigh in on the liquidmetal rumors. However, he specifically notes that the chips produced by Qualcomm - required for LTE wireless - are a direct indicator of the phone’s launch date.

Qualcomm reportedly told the analyst that its latest radio chips, presumed to be part of the next Apple iPhone, would not be available in bulk until December.

The reasoning here is that even if Apple has a deal signed with Qualcomm to be the first client to source these chips early, this still doesn’t give Tim Cook enough time to launch this iPhone at WWDC 12 in June.

That is, if Apple hasn’t switched to another supplier, which Munster finds very hard to believe: “Given how tight their relationship is with Qualcomm, we think that’s unlikely,” he said.

Apple’s share price has taken an 8 percent hit in the last week, but Munster is confident this is just a natural occurrence in the stock market. He suggested Apple investors need to be patient and watch what happens when the iPhone 5 debuts.

Script: NoNonsense Forum

NoNonsense Forum successfully implements a new design in forum software. It eliminates the need to register or login on the board, allowing easy thread and reply posting, with the help of static credentials.

Visitors can post content with a username and password. If a user posts a reply with a name, other users can't use it in their replies, unless they know the password used with the first posting.

Of course, it has its downsides, like users posting the same opinion with different usernames, but its simple core was never meant to power 1000+ user communities that spend most of their time flaming than actually having conversations.

NoNonsense Forum is actually just perfect for support forums, small niche communities or even as a commenting system, embedded with more powerful web apps.

The default forum layout is also mobile friendly, so it can be accessed from any kind of device. 

You can view a NoNonsense Forum demo here. For updates and news, NoNonsense Forum  development is managed via its GitHub page.

Download  NoNonsense Forum here.

Redsn0w 0.9.10b7 Brings Untethered Corona Jailbreak to A5 Devices

Version 0.9.10b7 of redsn0w for Mac and Windows is now out with a bunch of new features, the iPhone Dev Team has announced. The next version is already on the table with built-in restore support.

The updated jailbreak tool implements the corona-A5 untethered jailbreak for iPhone 4S and iPad 2 devices running iOS 5.0.1. The tool can further re-install a jailbreak for users who accidentally uninstalled the untether, and it can now grab SHSH blobs directly from Cydia when stitching an IPSW.

The interface has been updated to show more info about the user’s device, such as whether it has the vulnerable baseband boot loader (for iPhone 3G owners), or whether your it has the old exploitable bootrom.

The Dev-Team is already planning a future update to include built-in restore support, to provide an alternative to iTunes restores.

VIA Announces New USB 3.0 Hub Controller

Well-known chipset and CPU designer, VIA Labs, has recently announced the new USB 3.0 HUB controller called VIA Labs VL812, on its official website.

Taiwanese company VIA Labs Inc has long been know for designing and manufacturing processors, chipset and platforms that are very power efficient, very cool and easy to integrate.

For quite some time now, USB 3.0 daily users and enthusiasts were asking for good, non limited and, especially, more affordable USB 3.0 HUBs. VIA’s VL812 USB 3.0 Hub Controller consumes less than 0.5 watts when in heavy load and this is making it one of the market's low-power leaders.

The low operational power consumption of the new VIA Labs VL812 USB 3.0 Hub allows users to attach many USB powered devices that usually required an additional power source back in the USB 2.0 days.

With VL812 the user can attach external 2.5" USB 3.0 hard drive, an USB 2.0 Flash drive, and a USB mouse in the same time without the need for any additional power source or adapter, when connected to a regular USB 3.0 port.

Even now, the manufacturers of pocket-size external hard disk drives in the 2.5” format, usually, include a dual-headed USB cable.

One USB head goes into one USB port, for data transmission, and the other goes into an additional USB port for more current to power the hard disk drive.

The makers of USB external enclosures do the same.

It seems that VIA’s VL812 is a very affordable and simple solution for all these problems and, by designing an industry-first integrated 5V DC-DC switching regulator, it offers a single-chip solution that achieves both high power efficiency and greater system integration for a much reduced bill of materials (BOM).

"The VIA Labs VL812 USB 3.0 hub is a perfect expansion companion for the growing Ultrabook market, which have a sleek form factor but few external ports. It provides Ultrabook users with a wide range of USB connectivity options for peripheral devices without necessitating the need for an additional power adapter for the hub," said Terrance Shih, Product Manager, VIA Labs, Inc.

Samsung GALAXY S III Now Up for Pre-Order at Amazon Germany for 600 EUR (790 USD)

With only two weeks left until Samsung will take the wraps off its next generation Galaxy S III device, the smartphone has just been listed by a major retailer and is now available for pre-orders.

It looks like Amazon Germany has no intention to wait until Samsung's May 3 event, where everyone expects the South Korean company to unveil the next generation Galaxy family smartphone.

The handset is now up to pre-order for just 600 EUR (790 USD) outright, which is a bit cheaper in comparison with other devices that have been announced two months ago at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, and are about to make their debut on the market.

Amazon Germany advises customers to “reserve their copy now and get it in time for the release date,” which might be another evidence pointing to a May 3 launch for the Galaxy S III.

Aside from the fact that the retailer is now taking pre-orders for the Samsung Galaxy S III, it has also revealed some its specs, though these might have been gathered from all the rumors leaked online in the past few weeks.

So, according to Amazon Germany, Samsung Galaxy S III sports a large 4.7-inch Super AMOLED capacitive touchscreen display, 16GB of internal memory, as well as microSD card slot for memory expansion (up to 32GB).

The super-phone is said to boast a 12-megapixel rear photo snapper and will run the latest version of Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich operating system.

Although Amazon does not mention anything else, we also know that the Galaxy S III will be powered by an Exynos quad-core processor, probably clocked at 1.4 GHz, which will be complemented by a Mali-400 MP graphics processing unit and 1 GB of RAM.

Samsung Galaxy S III is likely to embed a high-capacity 2050 mAh Li-Ion battery, as well as NFC (Near Field Communication) capabilities. The smartphone is expected to be announced on May 3, during a “Samsung Unpacked” event, which is set to take place in London.

Dota 2 Will Be Free-to-Play, Provided Customers Are Nice to Others

Valve boss Gabe Newell has once again talked about the possible strategy the studio might implement with its upcoming Dota 2 strategy game, saying that he wants to accurately reward players who benefit the community, while imposing restrictions and higher prices on those who are disruptive.

Valve is working on quite a few projects nowadays, including Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and Dota 2, both of which are currently in closed beta stage.

In terms of Dota 2, the company's owner, Gabe Newell, has expressed his desire to reward good players with more than just features in the game.

“We’re trying to figure out ways so that people who are more valuable to everybody else are recognized and accommodated. We all know people where if they’re playing we want to play, and there are other people where if they’re playing we would rather be on the other side of the planet,” he told Seven Day Cooldown, via Polygon.

“It’s just a question of coming up with mechanisms that recognize and reward people who are doing things that are valuable to other groups of people. The issue that we’re struggling with quite a bit is something I’ve kind of talked about before, which is how do you properly value people’s contributions to a community?”

Newell also talked about this strategy last year, when he said that good players should enjoy lots of advantages while "jerks" should be charged extra when trying to access a game.

Basically, if this strategy comes to fruition, a player who takes time to mentor others and works well with his team should get more benefits than someone who isn't social and drives teammates away.

“So, in practice, a really likable person in our community should get Dota 2 for free, because of past behaviour in Team Fortress 2. Now, a real jerk that annoys everyone, they can still play, but a game is full price and they have to pay an extra hundred dollars if they want voice.”

Of course, Newell won't firmly commit to such a strategy just yet, but added that Dota 2 will be free-to-play, but not in a traditional way.

"It's going to be free-to-play -- it'll have some twists, but that's the easiest way for people to think about it," Newell concluded.

What do you think? Should team players be rewarded and disruptive ones forced to pay more?

KFA2 GeForce GTX 680 Hall of Fame Appears

Soon, there will be yet another GeForce GTX 680 graphics card for sale, one that only European stores will get to see, not that the US won't have something similar on hand. 

The new NVIDIA Kepler-based video controller bears the KFA2 brand and, rather than being formally launched, got listed earlier than intended in the UK. 

For those who do not know, KFA2 is Galaxy's Europe brand, which is why US customers won't be seeing the newcomer. 

Speaking of which, the graphics board is called GeForce GTX 680 Hall of Fame, or HOF for short. 

It uses an unusual white PCB (printed circuit board) and has a custom cooler too, not that the latter is all that surprising. 

Speaking of customizations, it bears mentioning that the GTX 680 HOF boasts CPL-made single-phase chokes, International Rectifier DirectFET and tantalum capacitors. 

In other words, it is one of the toughest GTX 680 boards to grace the market, or will be as soon as it actually arrives. 

Another thing that stands out is the presence of two 8-pin PCI Express power connectors. 

If we didn't already have the specs spelled out, that would have been more than enough to imply high factory overclocking. 

That said, the GK104 GPU is made to run at 1,202 MHz by default, and 1,267 MHz when GPU Boost is in effect. 

The numbers are far beyond even those on the ASUS GeForce GTX 680 DirectCU II TOP, which we wrote about yesterday (April 20, 2012). 

The 2 GB of GDDR5 VRAM were left to work at the same 6,008 MHz as the reference video board. 

Other specs include a Galaxy GX31 custom controller for the VRM (software voltage control, monitoring and power draw tracking over SMBUS), a 256-bit memory interface and, of course, a special cooler, with three 90mm LED fans and aluminum fins. 

Finally, KFA2 gave the GTX 680 HOF three mini DisplayPort outputs and a standard DisplayPort, rather than one DisplayPort, two DVI and HDMI. The price is £529.99, or $854 / 646 Euro.

Intel Core i3 Ivy Bridge CPUs Priced and Listed

Three of the upcoming Core i3 Ivy Bridge central processing units from Intel have made an appearance at several online retailers, or so reports say.

The folks at VR-Zone claim to have stumbled upon listings of the Core i3-3220, Core i3-3225 and the Core i3-3240 CPUs.

That isn't to say that we now know how much money Intel intends to ask in exchange for each of them though.

While the report did have some price tags to impart, they probably aren't the ones that the Santa Clara Company will demand.

Products do tend to be overpriced when listed before their time after all.

At any rate, we may as well get on with it, and we'll start with the Core i3-3220, priced at roughly €113, which translates into $149, give or take.

Secondly, Core i3-3225 is said to cost €130, or $172. Justified because of the HD 4000 graphics.

Finally, the Core i3-3240 has a price tag of €132 / $175, surprisingly low really.

Some of the retailers suggest availability will ramp up this month, but it is more likely that at least a month will pass.

AMD Radeon HD 7970M “Thames” Arrives on April 24

Advanced Micro Devices will soon deliver a new graphics processing unit at its next “AMD Tuesday” event. 

This means that, in three days time, a new GPU will be ready to assist customers. 

The chip in question is a 28nm Pitcairn-based discrete GPU, for laptops. 

It bears the name of Radeon HD 7970M and might just be the best (NVIDIA's GTX 675M is a rebranded, previous-generation GF114 Fermi unit, not a Kepler). 

We already know of laptops that will use the chip, like the Dell Alienware line

No doubt there will be many more announcements to this effect as soon as April 24 comes and goes. We'll keep you posted the best we can. 

Hopefully, there will be enough of these chips to go around. TSMC seems to be having trouble with 28nm, although AMD said it hasn't seen any impact on its end.

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