Google pulls Easy Root from Android Market

Since its beginnings, Android's identity has hinged on its openness and customization. Unlike Apple's iOS, Android allows users, handset manufacturers, and carriers a lot of room for tweaking their devices. But even with so much freedom, a select group of folks demanded even more customization and decided to "root" their handset. And up until now, that has been possible with the Easy Root application in the Android Market.

For the uninitiated, rooting lets users overcome limitations or restrictions imposed by wireless carriers or handset manufacturers. It's very much like jailbreaking an iPhone. It may sound … Read more

Microsoft updates Office 2004, 2008 for Mac

Focused on security and stability, Microsoft has released updates to its Office 2004 and 2008 suite of productivity applications for Mac.

The update to Office 2008, now version 12.2.6, plugs a security hole that would allow potential hackers to access your Mac's data by overwriting memory with malicious code. The update is recommended for all users of Microsoft Office 2008 for Mac (Home and Student Edition, Special Media Edition, Student and Teacher Edition, and Business Edition).

The update for Office 2004 also provides security upgrades as well as continued stability improvements. It is recommended for all users … Read more

Weekly troubleshooting utilities update

Our weekly utilities update report is a list of updates for Mac utilities that have been released in the past week. Though utilities can be any tool that helps you perform a routine task (including image manipulation and synchronization), our focus in this column is to bring you those tools that help in troubleshooting Mac hardware and software problems.

This week we have updates for fsevents-based file-system managing utilities, graphics and system managing hardware utilities, a few network diagnostics and information utilities, and one system maintenance program.

File-system utilities Yesterday, I outlined some of the benefits of using fsevents utilities … Read more

Could phones become 'viable threat' to gaming devices?

The gaming industry is getting some much needed help from mobile phones, market research firm iSuppli found in a recent study.

According to iSuppli, shipments of game-capable mobile phones will be up 11.4 percent by the end of 2010 to 1.27 billion, compared to 1.14 billion shipments in 2009. By the end of 2010, it expects console shipments to top 52.3 million units, up just 0.2 percent compared to 2009's 52.1 million units. Handhelds are expected to see a decline in 2010, tallying 38.9 million shipments by the end of 2010, compared … Read more

Watch Xvid videos on your iPad

The iPad may work wonders as a mobile video player, but it's rather hamstrung by the limited number of video file formats it supports.

Indeed, unless you convert all your videos to MP4 format (a lengthy and sometimes fruitless process) or stream them via an app like Air Video (not an option when you're offline), you're sorta outta luck.

Enter CineXPlayer, an iPad video player with native support for the popular Xvid (AVI) format. It's free, and it's fantastic.

Start by copying videos to your iPad by way of iTunes' File Sharing feature (which is … Read more

Windows app makes iTunes toting easier

A new, free little Windows app by Matthew Allen called PhoneAble does exactly one thing for iPhone owners: it enables them to manage the music on their device from any Windows computer with iTunes installed.

It does this by changing the computer's iTunes key--which is unique to each installation of iTunes--to match the key of your iPhone. This tricks iTunes into thinking that the phone plugged in via USB is one it's allowed to edit. It's simple, and that's why it's good.

Above is a screenshot showing how easy it is to use: back up … Read more

Box iPad/iPhone apps to get offline, iOS4 support

Online collaboration service is pushing out an update to its iPhone and iPad app that should make its business users happy. The software is getting offline file storage, which in a call with CNET on Monday, Box's CEO and co-founder Aaron Levie said had been the most requested feature by Box users.

Files that are flagged to be saved to the device can be accessed even when users aren't near a data connection, which Levie cited as a frequent occurrence for Box users on the Wi-Fi-only version of the iPad. Box has also built an updating … Read more

Track file changes with fseventer and DaemonFS

There are many times when in troubleshooting your Mac, it is useful to see what files on the system are being modified. For instance, if you are having difficulty with some system preferences and know what preference files are being used to store the system settings, you can further troubleshoot the problem by manually editing the files or removing them. The problem with doing this is that sometimes you can't easily find the files that are being modified.

Though you can use the Finder to search for and sort files by modification date, this is only useful for visible … Read more

iPhone console emulators: What's the point?

As a teenager I just about lived in the video arcade (Abbey Road in Farmington Hills, Mich.--anyone remember it?). I owned an Atari 2600, an Apple IIe, an Amiga, a Sega Dreamcast, and just about anything else that was good for games.

You'd think, then, that I'd go ape over something like C64 for iPhone 1.7, a newly updated Commodore 64 emulator that revives such classics as "Boulder Dash II," "Jupiter Lander," and "International Karate."

And you'd be wrong. While I have nothing but fondness for the videogames of … Read more

New app brings Flash to jailbroken iPhones

An updated version of Frash, an app that permits the otherwise banned Adobe Flash technology on Apple mobile devices, has been released. At the moment, however, it's only capable of handling relatively basic Flash animations (including, for example, the cult-classic Flash cartoon "Trogdor the Burninator"). The device in question must also first be "jailbroken," or hacked to remove protections and restrictions put in place by the hardware or software manufacturer.

Comex, the development firm that created Frash as well as the JailbreakMe tool, initially launched the app in a limited test that was first only … Read more