What's new in Jelly Bean 4.2, best Android apps, and Android battery saving tips
With the recent release of Android version 4.2 (codename: Jelly Bean) and a handful of new Nexus devices (See: Nexus 4, Nexus 7, and Nexus 10), we figured it was time we updated our Android Guide. This time around, we’ve got some useful tips for getting the most out of the newly added features in the latest Jelly Bean update, a few general tricks for all of the Android users out there, and a list of great apps that are worth checking out.
You can't walk a mile on the Internet without stumbling across the same argument over and over: iPad or Chrome? Chrome or iPad? Apple, Google, and Microsoft walk into a room: there are two bats on the ground. Who comes out alive?
The answer, of course, is the proverbial letter D: none of the above. No matter how you slice and dice the various players in the netbook/laptop/tablet/whatever markets, the consumers are the ones that ultimately suffer from today's battles. In the case of Google and Apple, the loss is one of control. And I, myself, worry how this might represent the future of general or portable computing: A time when it's the manufacturer, not the user, who dictates every bit of how you interact with your system.
I don't often connect to the Apple's iPhone App Store. It's not that I don't like perusing through new and interesting applications or games to try out. Rather, it's because Apple has made the processes of purchasing new applications so impossible to handle that it's simply not worth my time to scan through the listings to find new things to try out.
In fact, you could make a solid argument that there are no "real" listings of applications and games in the App Store. As to why that's the case, one need look no further than Apple's stranglehold on its own platform--were there a clarion call for a more open experience in application management, it would be require Steve Jobs to sit on the receiving end of one of those giant horns from the Ricola commercials.
We've been down this road before, however. I only readdress the issue because of all the unrestrained hype surrounding Intel's development of its own App Store for netbooks. Given the success of the Apple model--three parts promotion, one part consumer restraint--I can see no reason why Intel wouldn't follow suit.
Over this past weekend a reported glitch caused 57,310 books, primarily those with gay and lesbian themes, to lose their important sales ranking on Amazon. The sales ranking, which allows users of Amazon to find best sellers easier, is important not only to potential readers but to authors as well. And, while according to Amazon it was “an embarrassing and ham-fisted cataloging error” that caused the removal, a hacker is taking credit as well.
While Amazon maintains that the error was caused by a “glitch in our systems,” a (yet unnamed) hacker took credit for it, claiming that he used bugs on Amazon to trick people into flagging gay-themed books as inappropriate. The whole issue even caught the attention of Twitter users, who began using the hash tag “#amazonfail.”
Though, according to Mark R. Probst, author of “The Filly,” a gay western romance aimed at young adults, “I believe it was an error. I don’t think it was anything malicious they were trying to do.”
However, others aren’t so easily convinced. Author Daniel Mendelsohn, whose memoir “The Elusive Embrace” lost its ranking, says, “There are mistakes and there are mistakes. At some point in this process, which I don’t understand because I’m not a computer genius, the words gay and lesbian were clearly flagged, as well as some kind of porno tag. I say, do I want my book in anyone’s mind to be equivalent to a porno? And the answer is no.”
Remember the mock Retail Experience Center Microsoft was showcasing last month? The Redmond software company posted a video and several photos of what looked like a genuine Microsoft store front, but it didn't really exist. Now Microsoft is saying that not only will the concept soon become a reality, but it has hired someone (David Porter) as corporate VP of Retail Stores to help roll out the Microsoft-branded stores.
"There are tremendous opportunities ahead for Microsoft to create a world-class shopping experience for our customers," Porter said. "I am excited about helping consumers make more informed decisions about their PC and software purchases, and we’ll share learnings from our stores with our existing retail and OEM partners that are critical to our success."
So now that we know these stores are going to exist, when can we expect them? Answering that question will be Porter's first order of business, in addition to pinning down planned locations and other specifics, Microsoft said.
Porter will begin working for the software empire on February 16, 2009.
Circuit City announced on Friday that it will close all of its remaining 567 US stores. As a direct result of the retail chain's closure 34,000 people have been rendered jobless.The company had been in talks with a few potential buyers for quite sometime. In fact, the parleys reportedly went beyond midnight Thursday. However, as the discussions bore no fruits Circuit City was left with no other choice but to liquidate itself. Circuit City is currently offering discounts of up to 30% - which might be revised later - as part of its liquidation sale. Cnet’s Brooke Crothers’ described the situation inside the Circuit City store he visited as chaotic.
Online auction/shopping websites have been around for a long time. However, the proverbially long reach of the law hasn’t been observed when it comes to online stores for all these years. The absence of stern laws has fostered an illegitimate industry that has proved to be very profitable for thieves and charlatans galore, besides being less perilous then drug trade and other illegal businesses.
But online sellers dealing in stolen goods might soon be stymied by three new legislations, the E-fencing Enforcement Act, Organized Retail Crime Act of 2008 and Combating Organized Retail Crime Act of 2008. These bills are intended to combat Organized Retail Crime (ORC). There are numerous online sellers that are comfortably selling huge volumes of stolen goods – stolen directly from retailers – through popular websites like eBay.
If these bills get a nod from lawmakers, online stores and resellers will be required to disclose the contact information of any seller with annual earnings in excess of $12K to any competent party (retailer) that makes a request for such info. This will allow retailers to catch unscrupulous sellers red-handed. The proposed legislations will also put the onus of scrutinizing sellers on online stores. The National Retail Federation has placed its support behind the bills. What about you? Share your thoughts.