The Download Blog

A bug fix for arranging apps on iTunes

Prior to the release of iTunes 9 (Windows | Mac), arranging pages apps directly on your iPhone or iPod Touch was tedious and unpleasant. So when Apple touted app arranging as a new in iTunes feature this week we got very excited. We've spent the last three days with iTunes 9 and the new app arranging feature. While we're satisfied with it there is one bug that made it less than perfect. Luckily, we have a workaround.

Arranging app icons After connecting your device to a computer and launching iTunes 9, just go to the Applications tab as shown below. Once there, you can drag apps between thumbnails that represent the 11 home screens. Exciting, right? Well not so fast, since the process still is a bit painful if an app isn't currently assigned to one of the 176 spaces on the home screens (four spaces are reserved for the Dock). We have the same problem when arranging (or deleting) app icons on the iPod or iTouch.

If an app icon doesn't exist in a space, you won't be able to manage it until you figure out a secret. The check mark on the app on the left side of the window tells you that it's currently synced to your device. You can't manipulate "checked" apps unless they are sitting on a home screen. If the app is not on one of the 11 home screens you have to do the following.

Uncheck the app so that it won't sync with your phone. Place the app on one of the 11 home screens. Re-check the app so it will sync again.

If you forget to recheck it, you will delete the app from your device the next time you sync it with iTunes. Indeed, it's not a very intuitive process; I only stumbled on it accidentally. You'll also need to remember it for the tasks below. … Read more

Skype retiring third-party Extras

Starting Friday, Skype is effectively pulling the plug on its Extras program, which was designed to help third-party developers create add-ons for Skype's VoIP service (Windows | Mac)--like emoticon enhancements, backup services, and music player plug-ins. Unlike Firefox's similar third-party extensions, not enough people were installing Skype Extras, Skype said in both an e-mail and in a blog post to developers.

Developers and users will have some adjustment time, though. Skype won't certify any new submissions, but it won't yank support for existing Extras either, that is, until their certificates expire. You'll still be able … Read more

Snow Leopard update fixes Adobe Flash issue

Apple on Thursday released a relatively minor update for Mac OS X Snow Leopard that fixes an issue users had with the operating system that downgraded them to an older version of Adobe Systems' Flash Player.

When Apple released Snow Leopard on August 28, it included an older version of Adobe's Flash plug-in that was known to have security issues. Sophos security expert Graham Cluley warned users of the downgrade and urged anyone who installed the operating system to upgrade immediately.

Snow Leopard 10.6.1 addresses this issue by updating the Flash Player plug-in to version 10.0.… Read more

Yahoo Mail picks up Dropio for big attachments

Social-storage service Dropio on Thursday announced a partnership with Yahoo Mail to deliver a default application for the e-mail program's users. Dubbed Attach Large Files, Dropio's application will allow Yahoo Mail users to send attachments up to 100 MB in size.

When Yahoo Mail users log on to their accounts, they will now see Dropio's Attach Large Files listing included in the Applications drop-down box, which also features apps from Evite, Flickr, and PayPal, among others. When they click on Dropio's application, they can immediately start sending large files through their e-mail accounts.

The Dropio application … Read more

Mozilla patches holes in Firefox 3.5, 3.0

Mozilla on Wednesday released two new versions of its browser, Firefox 3.5.3 and 3.0.14, that patch three critical security holes and fix assorted other bugs.

The updates can be fetched through the Help menu's Check for Updates option, or can be downloaded directly.

Although Mozilla still supports the 3.0 version, it's pushing people to the 3.5 version, and support for the 3.0 series will end in a few months. Version 3.5, released in June, supports a variety of new Web page technologies and includes a faster JavaScript engine for running … Read more

First Take: iTunes 9

iTunes 9 was announced today at this year's annual music event from Apple. Named the "It's Only Rock and Roll event," Apple didn't disappoint with the return of Steve Jobs, upgraded (and cheaper) iPod Nanos and Shuffles, and plenty of new iPhone app demonstrations from third-party developers. As many predicted, iTunes 9 (Mac or Windows) was also on the agenda and it received a number of cool new feature enhancements to make navigation and syncing to your devices easier. iTunes 9 is available today, but has not yet been added to Apple's software update … Read more

Live blog: Apple updates iPods, Jobs takes stage

Earlier Wednesday, we brought you live coverage of Apple's rock 'n' roll-themed event, which kicked off in San Francisco just after 10 a.m. Pacific time. The event has concluded, but for more iPod-related coverage, click here.

9:55 a.m. PDT: Good morning. We're inside and seated, just waiting for the event to begin. There's quite a crowd in here with some notable names already appearing. Greg Grunberg from TV's "Heroes" is sitting right behind us, and Herbie Hancock and Google's Eric Schmidt have also been spotted.

9:59 a.m.: Now playing "It's Only Rock 'n Roll" by the Rolling Stones, also the title of the event per the invitation. It looks like we'll be starting momentarily.

10:01 a.m.: Steve Jobs walks out. Standing ovation.

10:02 a.m.: People are still clapping.

He encourages everyone to be an organ donor, and extends a heartfelt thanks to the Apple community. Also, on Tim Cook: "He ran the company very ably during that time." "I'm back at Apple, and loving every day of it," he says.

10:03 a.m.: "I'm very happy to be here today with you all," he says. "As you may know I had a liver transplant. I have the liver of a mid-20s person who died in a car crash. Without that, I wouldn't be here without that person's generosity."

10:04 a.m.: Today we're talking about music. Phil Schiller and Jeff Robbin will join him. First, iPhone stuff. "Thrilling to report that in two years we've sold 30 million iPhones."

10:05 a.m.: In the last year, the reason is the App Store, he says. There are 75,000 apps. 1.8 billion apps downloaded by users, he reports. That doesn't include updates, though.

10:06 a.m.: Today: iPhone OS 3.1. Some bug fixes and new features are coming. The Genius playlist technology is now going to work for apps in the App Store. It will recommend apps to you based on the apps you already own. The recommendations will get better as people say what they like and buy, he says.

10:07 a.m.: Also: as Greg Sandoval previously reported, there will be ringtones for sale for $1.29 each. You can buy them the way you'd buy music.

10:08 a.m.: iPhone OS 3.1 is free for iPhone and iPod Touch users who have 3.0. It will be made available today. Update 2:58 p.m.: Earlier, it was reported that it would cost iPod Touch users $4.95. The update only costs money to those who had not yet upgraded their iPod Touch to 3.0 or higher.

10:08 a.m.: Now on to iTunes: Steve says iTunes is the No. 1 seller of music in the world. 8.5 billion songs have been purchased and there are 100 million accounts.

10:09 a.m.: Today, iTunes 9 is out. A new look. Cleaner-looking, better navigation.

10:11 a.m.: In iTunes 9: Genius Mixes. Like Genius Playlists, Genius Mixes is like a DJ that plays mixes of songs that go together from your own library. Will make up to 12 mixes at a time.

10:12 a.m.: He says syncing will be better now, too. When syncing playlists you can also sync particular genres or particular artists. Also specific photo albums or specific faces from iPhoto, and specific movies from iTunes. You can also manage your apps syncing in iTunes.

10:13 a.m.: Also something called Home Sharing. With it, you can copy songs, movies, TV shows to up to five authorized computers in your house. Can see what's in all the other authorized computers right from your iTunes account.

10:14 a.m.: The iTunes Store also gets a new look, along with improved artists, movies, and TV pages--a "cleaner" layout, Jobs says.

10:15 a.m.: Another new feature: iTunes LP. "Some of us here are old enough to have bought LPs," Steve says. You can get album art, videos, liner notes, credits, etc. This is clearly the "Cocktail" we've been hearing about. The artists and labels can now have access to adding extras to their albums now.

10:17 a.m.: Jeff Robbin, vice president of consumer applications and lead software designer for iTunes, is now demonstrating the new iTunes. He shows how to drag and drop apps in iTunes to rearrange how they appear on an iPod Touch or iPhone. You can check and uncheck which games or apps you want on the device.

10:19 a.m.: He also shows us how Home Sharing works. You can drag a song or series of songs from other authorized computers to your own library. Can sort by songs that others have that you do not, and can set it so that when others buy new content from iTunes it can be automatically transferred to your library.

10:21 a.m.: There's a new navigation bar in the iTunes Store: music, movies, TV shows, podcasts, audio books, etc.

10:22 a.m.: Can also preview songs directly in the Top Charts section. When browsing the store, you can click an "i" button for a preview of the songs on the album which will allow a quick listen without going to the actual artist or album page. You can also Twitter info and post to Facebook about songs you find in the iTunes Store.

10:24 a.m.: Now Jeff is showing us iTunes LP. He picks a Doors album. You can see all the songs, all the lyrics, and lots of photos.

10:25 a.m.: There are also videos that he says are exclusive to iTunes LP. For example, Ray Manzarek is talking about how they decided to name the band The Doors.

10:27 a.m.: There's also something called iTunes Extras. Using the movie "Wall-E," he shows there are extra features like short videos, and a way to navigate chapters in the movie.

10:28 a.m.: Jobs is back on stage. He says iTunes 9 is free and ready to download today. Phil Schiller will come up to talk iPods now.

Twenty million of those sold are iPod Touch, he says.

10:29 a.m.: First Schiller's going to talk sales numbers. 220 million iPods sold to date, he says. He says they have 73.8 percent of the market, "with Microsoft pulling up the rear with 1.1 percent." There are a few giggles.

10:33 a.m.: Now Schiller's talking up the computing aspect of the iPod Touch, with Wi-Fi, browsing the Internet on Safari, e-mail, etc. "It fits in your pocket. Not everybody can say that," he says. And he shows a picture on screen of a Dell Netbook. More giggles from the audience.

10:35 a.m.: He says the iPod Touch is a better gaming platform than the PSP or Nintendo DS. He points to $30 game titles on those devices and the buying experience as "too expensive" and "not a lot of fun." He says there are 21,178 "game and entertainment" titles on iPhone OS, compared to 3,600 on Nintendo, and 600 on Sony.

10:37 a.m.: A few developers of those games are going to come up on stage now. Ubisoft is up first. Ben Mattes from Ubisoft is talking about Assassin's Creed II and how it's coming to the App Store. It'll be out November 11.

10:42 a.m.: Now, Bart Decrem, founder of Tapulous (maker of Tap Tap Revolution) is up. Riddim Ribbon is their new game built "especially for iPhone and iPod Touch." It's a DJ game where you race down a rhythm of a song, Guitar Hero-style. You can remix the song by going different directions down the "ribbon."

10:44 a.m.: Mark Hickey from Gameloft, one of the more prolific App Store game makers, is up. He's showing a new first-person shooter called Nova, where you have to defend humanity against an alien attack in space.

10:47 a.m.: Only one more game developer, Schiller promises. It's Travis Boatman from Electronic Arts. He's talking Madden NFL 10, which is coming to the App Store for the first time.

10:49 a.m.: You can draw plays right on the screen, which draws lots of applause from the audience. Madden 10 is available today in the App Store, Boatman says.

10:52 a.m.: "$199 is a magic price point in the iPod market," Schiller says. As of today, the iPod Touch is $199 for 8GB and $299 for 32GB. It now also comes in a 64GB model for $399.

10:53 a.m.: OpenGL ES 2.0 is also on the iPod Touch now, so games are faster--except for the $199 version, which will not have that.

10:54 a.m.: Now Schiller is discussing the iPod Classic. Now it will be 160GB for $249, which is up from 120GB.

10:57 a.m.: The iPod Shuffle gets its turn. Now it will come in more colors. Pink, green, and blue in addition to the silver and black. It's also now $59 for 2GB and $79 for 4GB. There's also a special edition in stainless steel for $99.

10:58 a.m.: Steve's back up. One more thing...a video camera.

10:59 a.m.: "Video has exploded in the last few years," he says. All those streams are coming from solid-state video cameras. He shows a picture of the Flip Video and its 4GB $149 price point. "We want to get in on this," he says. There will be a video camera in the back of every iPod Nano. There's also a mic and a speaker inside.

11:00 a.m.: He says it's just as thin as before, and shows a quick demo video from the device's camera. The videos will sync back to your iPhoto or to YouTube, with one click (another feature of the Flip Video camera).

11:02 a.m.: The voice-over feature from the iPod Shuffle will also be in the Nano, as well as Genius Mixes which were discussed earlier. The Nano will also have an FM radio, a voice recorder app, and pedometer. The pedometer will sync online with Nike Plus.

11:04 a.m.: It will come in a variety of colors: pink, red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple, silver, black. 8GB for $159 and 16GB for $179, both will be available today.

11:04 a.m.: We're getting a preview of the new ad, which highlights the video feature and colors of the Nano--with a cutesy pop song as backing, of course.… Read more

Opera 10 browser: First Look video

Opera 10 (for Windows, Mac, and Linux) is less than a week old, and the browser has already caused quite a stir among fans (just check out the comments). It has also inspired many a comparison with the more-often downloaded (and extension-rich) Firefox, and with the upstart browser Google Chrome which, despite its newness, has managed to unseat Opera as the fourth most popular browser.

That leaves you asking how Google's young Chrome browser, just a mewling infant in its lifetime, has already ousted a browser that's been publicly available since 1996. Is Opera really that bad?

Not … Read more

Browse Craigslist and play a new Modern Combat FPS: iPhone apps of the week

I recently heard about a trick for iPhone 3GS owners who have the latest version of the Yelp app. Yelp, as you probably know, lets you search for restaurants or other services and read user-written ratings and reviews. I've noticed that the Yelp app particularly comes in handy when I'm on vacation: it lets me find out right away what the locals think about a particular restaurant without having to find out for myself. But a hidden feature in Yelp for iPhone 3GS owners has been revealed recently that adds a whole new dimension to Yelp ratings.

Make … Read more

Opera 10 browser is here

The Opera 10 browser is now ready to download for Windows, and Mac, and Linux, three months after the beta first emerged (hands-on Opera 10 beta review).

If you've been keeping up with the beta updates, the final build of the cross-platform browser shouldn't surprise you. Opera Turbo, the browser's much-publicized compression engine for slow-poke connections, remains a feature highlight. Opera claims that Opera Turbo runs the browser up to eight times faster on suffering connections than do competing browsers.

The refreshed user interface is also noteworthy. Joining the new default skin (changed from version 9.6), … Read more