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German court invalidates Apple slide-to-unlock patent

In a legal victory for Google and Samsung, a German court has reportedly invalidated all patent claims related to Apple's "slide to unlock" user interface.

Today's ruling by Bundespatentgericht, Germany's federal patent court, is a setback for Apple, which has pressed the patent against Google's Motorola and Samsung in courts across Europe in attempts to secure injunctions preventing the companies' devices from being sold. However, the decision is appealable, according to Foss Patents blogger Florian Mueller, a paid consultant for several tech companies who was first to report on today's ruling.

The ruling, … Read more

Get Android 4.2 Quick Settings on any device

As one of the more handy options in Android 4.2.2, the Quick Settings menu gives users easy access to common device settings.

Accessible by swiping down from the right side of the notification bar, the menu allows for toggling of Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, brightness, and more.

Unfortunately, only 2 percent of today's Android smartphones run Android 4.2, with even fewer running this particular release. Enter AntTek Quick Settings.

Available for any Android device running 2.1 or later, this free application provides not only the standard Quick Settings options, but a ton of extras as well.

Even … Read more

Social Media Image Maker edits photos for social networks

Each social-media profile lets you use images to convey your personal (or professional) brand. Unfortunately, not every Web site allows you to use the same size photos. In the end, you'll have some social-media profiles with images that look stretched or squished. Instead of fussing with images to make them look proper, try using the Social Media Image Maker.

The great thing about this site is that it's easy to use, and can make your social media profiles look much more professional (or at least like you know what you're doing to friends and family). You won'… Read more

Tidy up your Android phone before putting it on the block

There are a lot of tempting reasons to upgrade your phone these days. In fact, here are five of them. But what do you do with your old phone?

Well, you could turn it into a dedicated media player, or perhaps recycle it. But why not try to sell it?

Selling your old Android phone can be an easy way to make a little money. But before you let it go, you'll want to make sure you've backed up any important information and deleted any trace of your personal data. So let's walk through the process.

The … Read more

A $299 high-end USB digital converter from England

Regular readers of this blog know we're living in the golden age of desktop audio. The speakers just keep getting better and better, and digital converters from the likes of Schiit Audio, AudioQuest, Hifiman, FiiO, and HRT have all made computers sound better than ever.

Now along comes the Meridian Explorer, a sleek, extruded aluminum converter with line- and headphone-level 3.5mm output jacks and a USB input. The line-level output internally bypasses the headphone amp and volume control. Meridian is best known for its ultra-high-end digital converters that sell for thousands of dollars -- the Explorer is their … Read more

3 Android apps for Wi-Fi calling with Google Voice

Google Voice allows you to give out one number to reach all of the phone numbers you're using at a given time. The ability to schedule "quiet time," and organize contacts into caller groups really make Google Voice a handy service. However, making Wi-Fi or data calls is a feature that has yet to make it to the app. That's where Android apps like Talkatone, GrooVeIP, and Phone for Google Voice and GTalk come into play.

Using one of these apps will allow you to sign in with your Google Voice number/account and dial calls … Read more

Use Annotary for efficient online research

The Internet is a valuable tool in today's research for papers and other projects. However, bookmarking endless Web pages is not the most efficient way to keep track of the information you need. Sure, it points you to the source where you found useful information, but you still have to go digging through the Web page to find it again.

Instead of adding to your endless bookmark collection, you should try using a service like Annotary. This service is dedicated to helping you do online research more efficiently, and it's free for individual users. If you want to … Read more

View lyrics for YouTube videos without looking them up

Sometimes the person or company responsible for uploading a music video on YouTube is kind enough to include the lyrics in the video information. If not, you probably end up opening another browser tab to find the lyrics so you can sing along (when no one else is listening). As a convenience for future song learning, there's a Web browser add-on that works with Chrome, Firefox, and Opera, which will allow you to see the lyrics while a video is playing. Here's how to get started:

For Chrome: Install a copy of YouTube Lyrics by Rob W from … Read more

Astrid integrates with Siri for voice-powered reminders

I rely pretty heavily on the iOS Reminders app -- not because it's especially good (it's not), but because it works with Siri. I love being able to dictate tasks ("Remind me to call Bob at 3 o'clock," for example) while I'm driving or otherwise hands-occupied.

That's a key reason I've stuck with Reminders, even when there are so many other better to-do-list apps out there. Thankfully, one them just offered a chance at liberation: Astrid now offers Siri integration.

In case you're not familiar with it, Astrid is widely regarded … Read more

Add notes to Gmail messages in Firefox

As mentioned in the guide for adding notes to Gmail messages in Chrome, the need for a default note feature really shows when you're trying to remember more information about an e-mail. Perhaps you were supposed to call instead of e-mail the person? Or maybe you want to share an e-mail with a friend, but your cellular signal isn't so great right now. Adding Notes for Gmail to Firefox allows you to keep track of these details more easily.

Notes for Gmail was kind enough to give CNET 1,000 beta invitations for our readers! … Read more