International Apple stores to close early on upcoming days

Apple Stores in several countries around the world will have reduced hours later this month, according to a new report.

Apple Stores everywhere from China to Canada to Italy report that they'll have special hours, including early closing times, starting on November 15. The shortened hours appear to be staggered. Apple's Paris store, for example, will have special hours on November 18 and November 19. One of the company's Hong Kong stores will have special hours on November 17.

AppleInsider earlier reported on the news.

It's not clear why Apple, which plans to launch the new … Read more

Apple quietly shelves Chomp app search tool

Any traces of Chomp, the app search and discovery company Apple acquired earlier this year, have been scrubbed from the world.

AllThingsD notes that Chomp's app for iOS no longer works, and kicks users to the App Store instead of serving up results. Going to, the former Web based version of the search, also now redirects to Apple's site.

Apple did the same thing with Siri, the company it acquired and turned into the voice assistant feature in iOS devices, however that was after the feature went live inside the iPhone 4S.

Chomp launched in early … Read more

Apple's Ping officially closes, disappears from within iTunes

Right on schedule, Apple has closed up shop on its failed music-meets-social networking experiment Ping.

The closure, which was quietly announced from within iTunes last month and slated for September 30, is simply a removal of the feature from within iTunes software, as well as the iTunes Store. Users who attempt to click on the link get an error message and are sent to the Apple Store home page.

Any playlists users made within Ping have been converted to iMixes, Apple's publishable playlist format. Meanwhile, Ping users lose their followers and people they were following with the closure.

The … Read more

MobileMe, a rare Apple screwup, finally bites the dust

Come Sunday, Apple will make good on a year-old promise: MobileMe, its paid cloud sync and storage service, will go dark.

That means files that users have stored on the service -- as well as the sites they have published through Apple's iWeb software -- are going to disappear as well.

MobileMe users ought not to be surprised. The very same day that it named a replacement service, Apple said it would be closing up MobileMe. Since then, the company has steadily nudged people toward migrating their accounts to iCloud, which opened up last October.

Apple declined to comment … Read more

Indie games steal the spotlight this spring

Sure, the future of gaming may see the end of used games, but it's also ushering in a wave of independent and download-only titles that may not have otherwise seen the light of day.

Current-generation consoles have provided independent studios with accessible platforms like Xbox Live Arcade (XBLA) and the PlayStation Network (PSN) that exposes their work to millions of gamers, similar to what the App Store has done for iOS developers.

Microsoft has even taken it a step further with its XNA initiative, ensuring that literally anyone can create a game.

The widespread embrace of these titles has encouraged others to follow suit and has paved the way for indie classics like Braid, LIMBO, Bastion, Minecraft, and most recently, Journey.… Read more

Web sites that shuttered in 2009

Despite a bleak economic outlook, 2009 saw the release of some incredible new Web services. But every year--recession or no recession--there are always a few sites that close their doors.

We've highlighted 15 sites that ceased operations over the course of the year. A number of them came from big companies like Google and Yahoo--the latter of which did some major restructuring in 2008 that left it with new leadership and a leaner, meaner mentality towards cutting things that just weren't working. Others were simply ideas that needed a little more time and money, but couldn't get … Read more

Google offers JavaScript programming tools

With a project called Closure Tools, Google plans on Thursday to start helping developers who aspire to match the company's proficiency in creating Web sites and Web applications.

Google is a strong proponent of using JavaScript to write Web-based programs, part of its Web-centric ethos. Indeed, the company has pushed the language to its limits with services such as Gmail and Google Docs, and it developed its Chrome browser in part to enable JavaScript programs to run faster.

But writing, debugging, and optimizing heavy-duty JavaScript can be difficult--in part because a given JavaScript program sometimes works differently on different … Read more

Dell closing N.C. manufacturing plant

Dell is closing its desktop PC manufacturing plant in Winston-Salem, N.C.

The cost-cutting move will ax 905 jobs, with 600 workers set to be laid off in November and the rest in January, Dell said Wednesday.

"This is a difficult decision, especially for our North Carolina colleagues, but a necessary one for Dell customers and our company," Frank Miller, vice president of Dell's Public Business Unit Supply Chain, said in a statement.

Dell had announced some layoffs at the North Carolina plant in March but gave no indication that the plant itself might be in danger … Read more

It's time to say good-bye to GeoCities

Yahoo released a "final notice" on Wednesday reminding GeoCities users that the free site creation service will be closing up shop later this month.

"On October 26, 2009, your GeoCities site will no longer appear on the Web, and you will no longer be able to access your GeoCities account and file," Yahoo wrote in a statement to GeoCities users.

The company said any GeoCities user that wants to maintain the site will be able to port it to Yahoo's Web Hosting service, which would cost $4.99 per month for a year and $9.… Read more

Yahoo to shut down Xoopit for Gmail users

Yahoo on Friday noted to users of Xoopit that the Gmail integration of its service would soon be disintegrated.

Xoopit, which aggregates media files from users' Gmail accounts, was acquired by Google rival Yahoo in late July and has since been integrated into the company's own Web mail service.

Users of Xoopit will have until November 13 to grab any media from Yahoo's servers, after which it will no longer be available. Doing this is necessary only for users who have deleted the source file from their Gmail account, as Xoopit simply copies over the media, leaving the … Read more