With the release of iOS 6 highly likely in September (concurrent with the expected iPhone 5 announcement), the rumors around unannounced feature changes at tech sites are reaching an all-time high, so I decided to round up some of the big ones here. We already know about the main features in iOS 6 Apple announced at WWDC in June, but this list is more about leaked info that other sites are talking about. Obviously, we can't know for sure if any of these will be true at launch, but it's always fun to talk about what might be … Read more
The only thing cooler than free media players might be the free codecs that improve playback quality or enable more file types. There are so many to choose from that it's often hard to know which is best, especially when there's more than one or two choices, like for MP3s: LAME, FLAC, AC3, and so on. JockerSoft's CodecInstaller is a free tool that scans your system, identifies your media players, and suggests codecs for them that can expand or improve their capabilities.
CodecInstaller's compact, vertically oriented interface has three main controls, each self-explanatory: Installed Codecs, Analyze … Read more
It's end-of-term time, which means brainy college students throughout the land are busily quaffing coffee and eschewing sleep to get their final projects sewn up.
That means too, of course, that many of these compelling projects are being put on display for the first time.
We got an e-mail from Golan Levin, a professor of new-media arts at Carnegie Mellon University, about student work in his advanced class this spring: "Special Topics in Interactive Art and Computational Design." Levin has put together a Web page of videos, and the projects display an admirable diversity of interests and approaches (and in some cases a mischievous sense of humor).
They range from Kinect-powered 3D soundscapes to virtual houseflies to sexy long-distance physical-stimulation devices (digital foreplay, anyone?).… Read more
Flipboard is a must-have newsreader and social network hub that lets you organize the info you want to look at and then flip through it like a magazine. Get started by creating an account with Flipboard, then sign in to your Facebook and Twitter accounts.
Once you're all signed in, Flipboard presents you with an intuitive layout of your social networks and some default news categories to browse. Touching a panel lets you browse through any of the default categories. But touching and holding a panel lets you delete it and replace it with whatever you want. To customize … Read more
Researchers are tapping into the brain's signals to ease the downsides of multitasking and information overload, a worsening problem in digital lifestyles.
A group of researchers at MIT, Indiana University, and Tufts University last week presented the Brainput computer interface device at last week's Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI 2012) which explores new human-machine interface designs.
Brainput seeks to address the problem of people getting overloaded when working on machines and to improve people's ability to multitask. It's geared primarily at complex control systems, but its makers say the technique could eventually spill … Read more
A group of researchers says shoes may be the next thing in the busy field of wearable computers and gesture interfaces.
Computer scientists from the Telekom Innovation Laboratories, the University of Munich, and the University of Toronto this week published a paper on ShoeSense, a wearable computing system for a smartphone.
It's one of many gesture interface-related papers being presented this week at the Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI 2012) conference, which is sponsored by the research arms of Microsoft, Google, eBay, and other tech companies.
Researchers have developed a way to take the multitouch interface of tablets and smartphones to a whole new level and set of objects.
Disney Research in Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon University yesterday announced a touch interface technology called Touche that brings a new set of gestures to existing touch screens and can make anything from table tops to body parts computer input devices.
It could lead to a "smart doorknob" that unlocks when grasped a certain way, or a couch that turns on the TV when a person sits down and turns off when the person falls asleep. … Read more
In the computing world right now, there are two general ways to show windows on a screen: with the window taking up the entire screen, as on smartphones and tablets; or with resizable, overlapping windows, as on personal computer OSes.
Until yesterday, Google's browser-based operating system, Chrome OS, fell into the former camp. Users had no choice but to see browser pages and run browser apps at the full size of the screen. That changed with a new window manager that debuted with Chrome OS 19.0.1048.17, released in a developer build.
With the Chromebook notebooks that … Read more
If you're not already a pro at using the command line, OnyX is a solid choice for conducting routine maintenance and tweaking the interface on your Mac. This free utility shares much of the functionality of applications like Cocktail (which its help files suspiciously resemble), and it can help you with everything from checking SMART status on your disks to configuring the Dock, Finder, and Dashboard and Expose to your liking.
OnyX can even help you run Unix utilities, change your desktop to an animated background, and unlock hidden functions in apps like Safari and iTunes. As with all … Read more
The Open Source VLC Media Player has been a longtime favorite here at Download.com, and a recent update gives the Mac app a complete overhaul to the interface.
VLC Media Player (Mac or Windows) made a name for itself as the open-source alternative to default players from both of today's major operating systems. On Windows users would grab VLC to play files not supported by Windows Media Player and for Mac users, it was often the only way to play Windows-only media file types. VLC Media Player is not the only option for free video playback, but its … Read more