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Monotype and Google try greasing the Web-font skids

Hoping to aid fancy typography on the Web, font powerhouse Monotype Imaging has released technology called MicroType Express (MTX) so it's free for public use, CNET has learned.

MTX is patented compression technology that shrinks font download sizes, hastening the moment when a person can see a Web page with its intended typography, but Monotype Imaging is releasing the technology under very liberal licensing terms. Microsoft licensed MTX for use in Internet Explorer, and now Monotype has won over another major browser maker, Google, the companies plan to announce today.

With its "make the Web faster" initiative, … Read more

Get your news from the grid

Skygrid is a fun-to-use, visually slick app for browsing through recent news from multiple sources.

Skygrid isn't tied to any particular news outlet, and you can't see much more than a short blurb and a thumbnail image for any particular story--so whether you're checking out a story from PBS NewsHour, CNET, TMZ, or WebMD, you'll have to click through to the source's Web site to read the whole story. Even so, Skygrid makes surfing the headlines fun, with a streamlined grid (of course) interface that lets you swipe through different sections and stories, with the … Read more

The 404 964: Where we ice the kicker (podcast)

It's our last week of 404 podcasts for 2011! We'll be back in the new year for a round of LIVE CES COVERAGE, but Wilson's not feeling well today so Joseph Kaminski fills in for an update on kid tech.

This year's most-wanted gift is the LeapFrog LeapPad, a junior tablet with games, e-books, and apps that helps kids learn...and also frees up the TV so Dad can watch the game.… Read more

HP tosses WebOS out of frying pan into the open-source fire

Hewlett-Packard's decision to release WebOS as open-source software doesn't bode well for the future of the project.

There are two common outcomes when companies convert a complicated proprietary project into open-source software. One is that a vibrant community of contributors grows up around the project, expanding its abilities, broadening its popularity, and making it into a better component of a broader technology package.

The other is that the project, tossed over its sponsor's transom, sinks beneath the waves.

I think HP would like the first outcome based on Chief Executive Meg Whitman's high hopes: "By … Read more

Sorry, WebOS is doomed to fail

commentary Hewlett-Packard may think it's resuscitating WebOS by turning it into an open-source platform, but the truth is the plug was pulled a long time ago.

In a case of too little, too late, HP said it felt the open-source route was the best one for WebOS. The company is gambling that the operating system will take off on its own.

It's a bad bet. Past open-source platforms have had a mixed record of success. And people who had any interest in WebOS, whether consumers or developers, have been jerked around enough by the companies that have mismanaged … Read more

Oregon judge rules bloggers aren't journalists

A recent court ruling has re-ignited the debate about whether bloggers are journalists.

A U.S. District Court judge in Portland, Ore., ruled that a blogger who wrote about an investment firm that subsequently accused her of defamation must pay the company $2.5 million because she's a blogger who doesn't legally qualify as a journalist.

Crystal Cox, whose blogs are a mixture of fact, opinion, and commentary, wrote several posts that were critical of Obsidian Finance Group and its co-founder, Kevin Padrick. In one blog post, Cox accused Padrick of fraud while serving as trustee in a … Read more

How many Kindle Fire tablets has Amazon sold?

How many Kindle Fire tablets has Amazon sold? While we don't have an official answer from Amazon, a market researcher that has been tracking sales of the 7-inch Amazon tablet offered an estimate today.

"Our estimate is that Amazon.com has now sold 850,000 units direct from the Amazon.com site. Total sales would be substantially larger," Carter Nicholas, CEO of eDataSource said today. Amazon may have sold as many as 2 million or more so far when you consider all sales channels."

Those other sales channels would be national retailers like Best Buy, where … Read more

Molten salt keeps solar power flowing

By storing solar energy in molten salt, BrightSource Energy can now build one less solar power plant.

The company said today that it is adding energy storage to three planned solar projects that will supply power to utility Southern California Edison.

Instead of building seven power plants to provide about 4 million megawatt-hours per year, BrightSource now expects to be able to meet that with six concentrating solar plants to be built over the next six years, including three that will have storage. It is now constructing its first project, the Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System, which will not have … Read more

Feeling bold? First Cyanogen builds of Android 4.0 arrive

Android hackers are working overtime to bring Ice Cream Sandwich into the real world, and early fruits of their labor are starting to emerge--if you have the right phone.

The CyanogenMod project to build unofficial versions of Android is working on CM9, the version based on the Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich source code from Google. Early CM9 buildsare available in alpha for the Samsung Nexus S and beta for the Samsung Galaxy S.

"CyanogenMod 9 Alpha 11 for Nexus S is definitely worth checking out," programmer Koushik "Koush" Dutta said on Google+ yesterday. And … Read more

First-generation phone runs fourth-generation Android

Running a newly released version of Windows or Mac OS X on a 3-year-old personal computer is an unremarkable feat.

But it's a lot more difficult in the smartphone world, where hardware and software have been changing at a breakneck pace. That's why I recommend watching this brief demonstration of Ice Cream Sandwich, aka Android 4.0, on the first-generation Android phone, the T-Mobile G1 from October 2008.

XDA Developers forum member jcarrz1 posted the video and an alpha version of his OS build yesterday, nine days after Google released the Ice Cream Sandwich source code.

As you may expect, the new OS drags on the comparatively ancient hardware, with slow app launches and long lags between a touch action and the phone's response. But all the ICS apps work.

What doesn't work at this stage, jcarrz1 said: Wi-Fi networking, Bluetooth, and screen rotation. … Read more