The glossy hype over the Apple iPhone has certainly faded some, but that hasn't bothered the independent and corporate third-party developers that have been polishing up iPhone apps to run over the device's mobile Safari browser.
How long does it take you to type, "Now Playing"? And how can FoxyTunes, the popular browser extension, help?
Switching windows to your desktop's MP3 player takes up precious nanoseconds, too. Even worse, you might have to physically move and actually get up and look at your stereo. In the average e-mailer's day, that could add up to hundreds of thousands or even millions of seconds.
Patiently waiting for somebody to write that killer Thunderbird extension that does everything from sending spammers a DOS attack to washing your dishes won't get you much beyond a head of gray hair and a trip to Cuba for cheap meds to treat your high blood pressure.
No, there are no panaceas here, but we do have a platter of some newish extensions that not only make you slimmer and sexier, they also make Thunderbird better and easier to use with preview pane browsing, e-mail stickies, toolbar tweaks, and more.
Trillian's all-in-one instant messaging client made its name by offering chat-happy users a single account where they could connect with friends from all the major IM networks. While the popularity of some networks it supports has dwindled, Trillian has only improved.
Given all the great consumer-facing open-source software available, I figured that I'd try to evaluate and write reviews on those I use most often. Open source long ago stopped being about developers for other developers. Here's proof.
Adium is quite simply the best instant-messaging (IM) client available. Period. It has its flaws and is, in some ways, deficient compared to iChat, Apple's own IM client. But its strengths vastly outnumber its weaknesses. I've been using it for years. In some ways, it's very similar to Trillian on the Windows platform in that it allows you to combine nearly all of your IM services (Yahoo!, MSN, AOL, Jabber, etc.) into one client.
But Adium actually goes further and provides more.… Read more
My father's Motorola E815 from Verizon is suffering chronic SMS, or text message, spam. At first, the unwanted messages trickled in--religious messages with pictures of saints one time, pharmaceutical marketing another. Then the spam rate escalated. After one spammy text message yesterday and two this morning, Dad decided he wanted out.
"Out" in his case, and in the case of most North American mobile phone users, is as much about the phone bill as it is receiving unwanted texts. Service providers like Verizon and T-Mobile charge for inbound and outbound SMS activity, either per message, generally 10 cents to 15 cents per outgoing text message, or as part of a larger service, usually between $5 and $10 more per month depending on the plan. Data downloads cost extra too, so spam texts with image attachments ratchet up the bill. "This was becoming an expensive habit," says Dad.
The kicker, of course, is that it's not his habit.… Read more
Box.net, providers of free and paid-for Web storage have a slick new front-end for iPhone users. Once logged into your box.net account, you can access all your files and folders, using a scrolling hierarchical interface similar to that of the iPhone and iPod. Since it's still the same old Safari browser, you can't actually download any of the files to your iPhone, but it works great for viewing images, natively supported movie files, PDFs, Office documents, and text files on the go.
The real reason this would excite most people is the possibility of accessing music … Read more
When you first look at 3D Mailbox, it almost seems like a joke, or an article from The Onion. "The world's first 3D e-mail client!" the Web site proclaims. Well, there's a reason for that. Most of us struggle with too much e-mail these days. Taking the time to add 3D animations to each message seems ludicrous...and it is!
3D Mailbox delivers almost exactly what it promises. It creates a 3D world in which your e-mail messages can live...and walk, shower, swim, or even shuffle about aimlessly. When you receive mail in 3D Mailbox, a 3D character representing each message walks in the front gate and talks to the bouncer (who decides if he or she is spam).
By default, the gender of the new avatar is determined by the (supposed) gender of the sender (it thinks Vladimir is a woman's name), and any questionable senders default to female. If the bouncer lets him or her through, the 3D character for each message takes a disinfecting shower, then walks extremely slowly over to the pool, climbs the high-dive platform, jumps in the pool, and swims laps until you decide to read it.… Read more
Adobe released the public beta of its Adobe AIR runtime environment (previously codenamed Apollo) about a month ago. The software is designed to allow the development of rich Internet applications that work on any operating system. I'm sure that there are technical differences, but it seems a lot like an amped-up widget engine to me.
Needless to say, AIR apps aren't nearly as ubiquitous as Adobe Flash apps (yet), but there have been a few interesting recent developments. The most-polished AIR application so far is Adobe Digital Editions, software for reading, downloading, and managing e-books. To learn more about it, check Seth Rosenblatt's First Look video for Adobe Digital Editions.
While Adobe Digital Editions might be the most powerful AIR app so far, the one with the most buzz is definitely the Pownce desktop client, a tool for sending content to your Pownce buddies and the Pownce Web site. (Pownce is currently in private alpha; jump down to the bottom of this post for info about how to request an invitation.)… Read more
It's unsettling to think of malware as cutting-edge technology, but its trickery has evolved alongside Internet trends like instant-messaging services Yahoo Messenger and AIM. Chris discovered this relationship when he clicked a faux-photo link in an IM message, letting loose a worm that instantly hijacked his buddy list. Would his friends now think he was perpetrating malware?
Find out Chris' defense and get the lowdown on IM spam (also called "spim") in this week's Spyware Horror Story.