Reviews - page 157

Flock 1.0 Public Beta is the Best Mac OS X Browser



Ladies and gentlemen, Flock, the Mozilla-based open-source Web browser trying to make the social aspects of the Internet central, is finally useful. And oh, is it, useful. First introduced in the fall of 2005, the program, which integrates Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, YouTube, and blogging software was for years a slower, more crashable alternative to Firefox. I never used it for more than about 10 minutes before. Suddenly, as of last week, it has vaulted over Firefox, Camino and Omniweb. It’s by far the best web browser for anyone with friends online that I have ever used. You should all download Flock 1.0 Public Beta at your nearest convenience. It even takes Firefox add-ons.

The marquee feature of the new version is the People Sidebar, a screen real estate gulping interface for a few key social media services. Essentially, once you register, you get a constant stream of new status and upload updates from all of your contacts of Facebook, Twitter, Flickr and Youtube. It just moves along. You can send messages, Poke people, send photos, or what have you, all without heading over to the hosting web page. The other key feature is the Media Bar, which allows subscriptions to the media streams from Flickr, Photobucket, Facebook or others. There’s drag and drop image, video and text support, as well as an incredible clipboard that goes far beyond the typical features to optimize for reuse.

Then, in addition to all of that, there’s a built-in blog editor that’s widely compatible and nearly as capable as ecto, my dedicated blog app of choice. Its only limitation right now is that it requires the use of one of its supported hosting services for images, not native image hosting.

Other than that, it’s revolutionizing the way I consume information and connect with the people around me. And it’s made blogging almost preposterously easy.

Thanks, Stuart — for showing the way!

Test-Drive Flock 1.0 | Flock

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Mossberg Reviews Leopard



Leopard has been with journalists for awhile. Uncle Walt thinks it’s not a huge improvement, but it’s much better than Vista.

Leopard: Faster, Easier Than Vista
Upgrade of Apple’s OS Isn’t Revolutionary, But It Beats Microsoft’s
The Mac is on a roll. Apple Inc.’s perennially praised but slow-selling Macintosh computers have surged in popularity in the past few years, with sales growing much faster than the overall PC market, especially in the U.S. By some measures, Mac laptops are now approaching a 20% share of U.S. noncorporate sales, up from the low single digits where they once seemed stuck.

Personal Technology –

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Verdict: iPhone Alternatives Don’t Measure Up



Several hundred thousand people across the country are now happy iPhone users. They’re also all AT&T users, whether they wanted to be or not. Until Apple shipped their wonder-phone, I was never that interested in phones focused on e-mail and web browsing — then it all changed. However, as a T-Mobile user, my options are limited. Much as I would like to say I’m glad that my service agreement will force me to wait until at least the second-generation iPhone, I’m not. I want a great phone. And so I headed to the T-Mobile store yesterday, in search of hope. And I found none. To read the gory details, hit the jump.

The Three Word iPhone Review – It Fuckin’ Rocks!



The iPhone is gadget heaven. It really does restore your sense of childlike wonder. I’ve had a blast all weekend running my greasy finger over its glassy surface.

It’s a Crackberry for the masses. Finally, mobile email, messaging and web browsing is fun and easy — how did it take so long?

I’ve had a Treo and cell phone email for years, but never, ever used them — they’re a mess. Now I’m an iPhone text addict — a 41-year-old acting like a teenager.

I bought one on Friday and have been out around town with my kids all weekend. The little angels monopolized it, surfing the web and watching YouTube. They figured it out immediately. I showed them one thing — how to use your fingers to shrink and zoom — that was it. I took some calls, surfed the web and sent some email.

I found it’s not all roses — there’s serious issues using it for work — but in general, we’re true believers.

The Good and The Bad after the jump. Plus camera phone samples.

WWDC: Safari 3 on Windows Review



Having spent a day with the beta for Apple’s much-ballyhooed Safari browser for Windows XP, I’m ready to pronounce it the fastest browser for XP that I’ve used on a regular basis. On the other hand, it also is riddled with the kinds of bizarre bugs only a public beta could expose.

Sometimes, it’s both the fastest and the stupidest browser on all of Windows. If you’re on the fence, click through to hear whether your working style is ready for this not-quite-ready-for-prime-time browser contender while stranded in the Windows world.

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Rave Review: Coda Web Development App



The new Coda website development app from the well-regarded software publisher Panic gets a rave review from John Gruber at Daring Fireball. Coda is an all-in-one site creation tool, combining a text editor, CSS editor, FTP, terminal and live preview in one app.
Gruber writes:

It’s about reducing clutter and emphasizing the relationships between the different aspects of web development, making it easier to switch from source code to preview to files. Coda’s advantages are most obvious when you consider working with two or three projects at once. In Coda, each site gets its own window, grouping source code, browser previews, terminals, and file listings together.6 The idea is that all your stuff –œ file listing, source code, browser previews, terminals –œ for site A is here, all your stuff for site B is there. Coda groups and visually organizes these disparate elements by project, rather than by app.

There’s another thorough review here at MacApper.

AppleTV: A Comprehensive User Review



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Thomas Fitzgerald spent some quality time with his AppleTV and wrote up this thorough and interesting review. His conclusion? It’s a great product, well thought out and executed.

It is the Apple TV’s integration with iTunes that makes it a truly fantastic product. Again it’s the little things. When you watch something on your iPod, and then sync it, it knows your playback position. When you watch a podcast, (if you set it to sync only recent episodes) it removes it and sends the next episode (but cleverly it waits till you have watched it to the end before it does so) Synching seems to happen often and as soon as you change something it will sync. It’s pretty impressive and seamless. Another cool thing is that if you have slideshows set up in iPhoto when you sync your photos it remembers the music you had set with that slide show. I know it’s simple little thing, but it just struck me as being indicative of the seamless integration across all Apple’s products, that competitors just can’t or don’t want to achieve.

…Even if you live outside the US and don’t have access to movies and TV shows on iTunes there are plenty of ways to get content onto the Apple TV. Two must have pieces of software are mediafork (aka handbrake) and visual hub. Visual hub does an excellent job of transcoding all those divx movies you may have acquired through whatever method you may have acquired them (and I’ll make no comment or suggestions on that topic) with no significant loss in quality, which is a pretty impressive feat. Media fork does a similar job with DVDs.

Perfect Pocket Camera: Lumix FX07



Cory Doctorow at BoingBoing thinks the Lumix FX07 is the perfect pocket camera:

I love these cameras (I’ve bought three more since January as gifts, with great results). They shoot stunning pictures (here’s Flickr’s collection of FX07 shots) and have totally kick-ass image stabilization that works great in low-light, getting me incredible shots without using a tripod or leaning the camera against a table. They also shoot wicked-fast, making it easy to shoot a continuous stream of photos of something exciting as it’s happening. The presets are also really smart — the aerial photography setting got great shots when I was in a helicopter last month over the Grand Canyon. The camera also shoots crisp, 640×480 Quicktime video.

Amazon Link

Video Podcasting is Going To Be Huge



Yahooligan and occassional-OS-X-critic Russell Beattie bought a new video iPod, and he absolutely loves it. Russell’s no slouch. He’s one of the sharpest observers of tech and Silicon Valley. He writes:

I got the new 30GB White iPod yesterday and it completely rocks. Apple did a great job with this gadget. Much thinner than previous iPods, super-fast syncing over USB, and the screen is *great*. Anyone who complains about the screen size is either 1) blind 2) a whining tempermental jerk 3) someone who hasn’t actually seen the screen. It’s beautiful.

I’m telling you right now, Video Podcasts are going to be huge. HUUUUGE… Making it so easy to rip or download new music and sync it to your device made the iPod what it is today. The same functionality for Videos is what is going to make the new iPod the standard bearer for portable video as well, even though it has a much smaller screen than the PSP.

…I can’t wait for iFilm and AtomFilms and JibJab and all the rest to start creating content for my iPod and other devices as well, available via an RSS feed (do they already?). And I can’t wait for the Podcast guys to start ramping up their content like RocketBoom and Mobuzz have as well.

…It’s all related, can you see it? Portable video is really here at least… and it’s going to be huuuuge!

Review: Moto’s iTunes Phone



Motorola’s Rokr is a stinkr, according to Mobile Tracker.

“One of the first things I noticed about the ROKR E1 was that it is very slow when iTunes is playing music. This holds true if you’re inside iTunes or if it is hidden. For a phone with music features being so central, this is a fatal flaw. My unit couln’t even keep the play time counter working smoothly (see video). When iTunes is playing a song menus are also slow and I easily typed faster than it could keep up with. Navigating through menus is also painful–count on a second or two after you touch a button for it to respond.

… I’m happy to report some good news though, the speakers on the ROKR E1 sound amazing. Great quality and even bass (it has a bit of rumble when you hold it). Everyone I showed the E1 off to was impressed by the built-in speakers. The idea of stereo speakers on a device this small should be ridiculous, but they sound great. Of course you’ll run through the battery faster using the speakers, but this is one thing that even the iPod cannot do.”