Mozilla fleshes out Firefox OS simulator features

Mozilla is at an awkward stage with Firefox OS: it wants its brand-new mobile operating system to attract developers, but there are very few phones available in the real world. To bridge the gap, the organization offers a phone simulator, and on Thursday, it updated the Firefox OS simulator to version 4.

Among the new features in the software, which is an add-on to the Firefox browser for personal computers, according to a blog post by Firefox OS developer advocate Angelina Fabbro:

• The ability to simulate touch-screen events with mouse clicks.

• A style editor tool that lets programmers create and … Read more

Review: Express Invoice Free Edition efficiently manages all of your billing

Express Invoice Free Edition takes care of creating and automating invoices, reports, and quotes for your customers. However, the "free" is a bit misleading since this is actually a 14-day trial version.

During the installation the program tries to install an Internet toolbar and change your default search engine, which are the options you can easily opt out of. In addition, this program includes a number of add-on programs that integrate with it but their installation is also optional. Upon startup you will be asked to enter your business name and business details including address and contact phone, … Read more

ITC launches pilot program to cut down on patent troll suits

The International Trade Commission is looking to curb the amount of cases it gets from patent trolls.

According to Reuters, the commission said Monday that it plans to start requiring companies to prove they are well established in the U.S. before they file patent infringement complaints. Currently, companies don't have to prove this until after the case is over.

This requirement will come via a pilot program launched by the ITC that is led by its six administrative judges. These judges will determine whether companies suing over patent infringements have sufficient U.S. production, licensing, and research to … Read more

The democratization of the drone

ROCKLIN, Calif. -- When a gust of wind picks up your latest design for a radio-controlled drone, flips it into an oncoming car, and shears the paint right off, there's not much you can do but apologize and pay the bill.

It's an unfortunate consequence of working for a company that specializes in building do-it-yourself robot kits, says Jim Carey, the sales and marketing director at Parallax.

Founded in 1986 by Chip Gracey in his Sacramento, Calif.-area apartment, Parallax's first products included sound digitizers for the Apple II. When the company began producing the BASIC Stamp … Read more

Obama: NSA spying doesn't mean 'abandoning freedom'

News about the National Security Agency's classified surveillance programs has been abundant the past few days, and to top it off, President Obama is now giving a 45-minute interview about the issue with Charlie Rose on Monday evening.

Buzzfeed published a partial transcript of the interview before tonight's airing of the show. While Obama goes over the topics of the two NSA spying programs with more detail, it appears he's reiterating much of the same when it comes to the White House's stance on the programs and document leaks. Essentially, it did nothing wrong.

"What … Read more

Review: Max Spyware Detector scans your computer for viruses and more

Max Spyware Detector quickly scans your system to find and remove spyware. In addition to being a little expensive, this download is bloated and lacks some high-end performance when it comes to spyware blocking. For as huge as it is, it should be stocked with goodies, but instead it doesn't even offer active protection from viruses.

To call this download big would be an understatement. It checks in at about 182MB, which would take some time to download even on faster connections. It starts scanning automatically once you start the program, though. The download hogs most of your computer'… Read more

Pay TV goading media companies to withhold on Web?

To discourage media companies from proliferating Web-based entertainment, pay-TV operators such as Time Warner Cable are using tactics like offering higher payments or threatening to drop programming, according to a report by Bloomberg, citing unnamed sources.

Such goading is meant to keep programming out of the hands of digital entertainment services that companies like Intel and Apple are pursuing.

As cable companies negotiate distribution agreements with content providers, a chief interest is keeping as much hold on exclusive content as they can. That gatekeeper status has long been a cable company strategy to keep customers and fend off digital competition. … Read more

Review: Revo Uninstaller thoroughly cleans leftover traces of uninstalled programs

Revo Uninstaller adds some serious power to uninstalling programs, but not a lot of speed. It certainly runs circles around the default option in Windows. However, it's not the most convenient way to kick programs off of your hard drive. It tucks many of the best features behind a paywall, too.

Revo Uninstaller comes with the free trial, which lacks some of the high-end features of the pro version. Though it can delete some registry errors that usually come with deleting programs, it doesn't remove all of them. To do that, you need to upgrade or use a … Read more

Review: Wise Program Uninstaller Portable solves problem program issues

Wise Program Uninstaller Portable forces annoying programs off of your computer, but it comes with its own nuisances, too. There are some weird pop-up ads to put up with and it doesn't delete programs quickly. However, it's helpful in a pinch and is nice to have since you can stick it on a USB drive to take with you.

This program downloads as an executable file, which may make your anti-virus software flag it as suspicious. During testing, the program didn't behave suspiciously, but it did bring an unnecessary pop-up ad out of nowhere. It was for … Read more

Twice in two weeks: Another Web app for processing raw photos

Web-based photo editing took a second step forward Tuesday with the release of WebRaw, a tool that uses Mozilla's ASM.js technology for the computationally intense process of handling raw photos.

Raw photo formats, available on high-end cameras, offer better image quality and more editing flexibility, but they also are much more of a hassle than standard formats like JPEG, in part because they're so burdensome for computers to decode. That's why the demo, from Mozilla's Vladimir Vukicevic, is interesting: processing raw photos is the sort of chore that only a couple of years ago would … Read more