Since our recent review of the iPhone 4, we've been doing a lot of thinking about smartphones. They've come a long way from their humble beginings, but we're still not satisfied. There are still features that are either present in only some smartphones, or none at all, that we think are absolutely vital. Here's our quick list of 10 features that should be completely mandatory in every phone.
Check it out, and when you're done hit the comments and let us know what you think. Did we miss a big one? Is one of ours dumb? We want to hear about it.
I don't exactly know how often you take screenshots. As you might guess, I take a ton of screenshots--far more, on a weekly basis, than I'd ever care to take. But I'm not here to brag. I'm here to show you how you can take screenshots with greater detail and precision than the ol' default technique: Jamming print screen, saving a huge bitmap file, downloading an open-source photo editing program, cropping it, saving it, and... doing it all again.
Seriously though, that's the typical process I go through in order to snap pics of applications and what-have-you. You shouldn't have to spend this much time just to snap pics of your desktop. Thankfully, due to a fun little open-source application, you won't have to.
I'm not old, but I often find that the print versions of certain websites--literally, the button you click on that would otherwise format and send said articles directly to your hardware printer--are a lot easier on the eyes than their link-filled, advertising-drenched, "normal" counterparts.
But to get to this most sacred and pleasant of pages for any given article, you physically have to click the "print" button for everything you're trying to read. And when you're done, you have to back out an extra step in your browser--once to take you back to the "normal" version of the page, and once more to return to where you were previously. That's a lot of work just to treat yourself to a more eye-friendly format for Web text.
Of course, I wouldn't mention a problem if I didn't have a solution. In this case, the Chrome Extension "...Fit to Print" is not only an excellent, automatic solution for jumping to any site's "print" version, but it's also a clever play on a common journalistic phrase. That's bonus points right there.
With every passing day, we're becoming increasingly mobile with our computing devices. Smartphones are getting smarter, portable PCs are getting more portable (netbooks come to mind), and now tablet computing is starting to take off. We're no longer tethered to our desktops throughout the day, but one thing that hasn't yet been addressed is how to print on the go. Enter Google Cloud Print, a new service Google is working on primarily for its upcoming Chrome OS, but could also see use in a variety of platforms.
"Since in Google Chrome OS all applications are web apps, we wanted to design a printing experience that would enable web apps to give users the full printing capabilities that native apps have today," Google's Chromium team wrote in a blog post. "Using the one component all major devices and operating systems have in common-- access to the cloud-- today we're introducing some preliminary designs for a project called Google Cloud Print, a service that enables any application (web, desktop, or mobile) on any device to print to any printer."
The way it works is pretty simple. Bypassing the need for local print drivers, apps can simply use Google Cloud Print to submit and manage print jobs. The online service will then send the print job to whichever printer the user selects, and then return the job status to the app.
It's only fair that Google's browser, Chrome, use a Google-based service in this week's extension of the week. The name of the add-on is Send to Google Docs, but you don't need to be a rocket scientist to figure out the ins and outs of this little tweak.
I was originally scanning around for an interesting way to tweak the functionality of a PDF in the Chrome browser. In stumbling across Send to Google Docs, I was intrigued by the solution: Rather than simply sticking more save options onto the download bar, Send to Google Docs gave a far better deal.
It's kind of annoying to have to wade through a bunch of PDFs on one's hard drive. Depending on your reader of choice, clicking through PDF after PDF can eat up a lot of system resources... and a lot of time. Why not just stuff these files in the cloud and let Google's speedy rendering engine take care of the rest? Or, better yet, allow Google to convert these PDF files into a format that can be edited straight through Google Docs itself?
If you don't put much thought into the font you're using, maybe you should. That is, if you want to save money. But don't take our word for it - just ask the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay, who claims to have found a way to cut costs by changing the font in email.
So what's the big fonting deal? According to the Wisconsin college, the switch from the default font (Arial) to Century Gothic will cut back on the amount of ink required when students print out an email. And not just by a little bit, but about 30 percent less ink, says Diane Blohowiak, the school's director of computing.
According to Blowowiak, the cost of printer ink works out to about $10,000 per gallon, so both the students and the school stand to save a lot of money. More than just about cutting costs, the font switch is also part of the school's five-year plan to go green.
Printing digital photographs seems so last century.
These days, we all carry at least one smart device, whether it’s an iPhone, a Zune, an MID, or something else. We all use Facebook. And those with a more serious photographic bent might also use an online photo service like Flickr or SmugMug. Indeed, a vast array of methods for showing off your photography without actually handing someone a print now exists.
There are good reasons, however, to have photographic prints—even in the 21st century. Grandparents and other family members often like to have something to put in a frame that they can hang on a wall. Another other reason is size. There’s something compelling about a really large print—8x10 inches or beyond. An iPod or laptop screen might be an acceptable replacement for the common 4x6- or even 5x7-inch print. But holding up a 13x19-inch print suddenly makes a half-decent photograph seem almost like a work of art.
So, for those times when you want a print, what’s the best way to get it? Is it worth paying $400 or more for a large-format printer, and then paying again and again for the ink? What about large-volume or professional online photo-printing services? Are they cost-effective, and can those prints measure up to a good-quality home printer? And how about those photo kiosks you find in places like Target and many grocery stores?
The future of online media is very much up in the air as news conglomerates look for new ways to generate revenue. But instead of going at it alone, several of the magazine industry's biggest players have been considering joining forces to create a new mega-company.
If it happens, the alliance would be huge and include Time Inc., Conde Nast, and Hearst, which together publishes more than 50 magazines, such as The New Yorker, Time, People, Sports illustrated, The Oprah Magazine, and many more.
The goal is to create a company that will prepare magazines for multiple digital platforms. Those close to the plans have described it as an iTunes for news and magazines.
"It's pretty complicated stuff," said a source. "Thre really, really hard part is that you've got so many different kinds of devices running on different operating systems. And how do you handle that? The consortium provides one point of contact for the consumer. When you come to the main store, you can get the content any way you want."