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Posts by Donald Melanson
It's fairly minor as far as operating system upgrades go, but Chrome OS users can expect to receive a new update in the stable release channel sometime in the next few days (if they haven't already). It brings with it some added panel windows for things like chat, along with a new positioning mode for the launcher, autocomplete in Drive search, a new three-finger gesture to move between tabs, and expanded support for wireless mice and touchpads, among other minor fixes and additions (including some promised memory management improvements). You can find the full rundown at the source link below.
Filed under: Software, Google
Source: Chrome Releases
Latest Chrome beta for Windows and Chrome OS brings richer notifications, coming soon to Mac and Linux
It's not quite ready for the stable release of the browser, but Chrome beta users can now get a taste of a new notification system that should be rolling out to everyone sooner or later. Currently limited to the Windows and Chrome OS versions of the browser (Mac and Linux support is promised "soon"), the new notifications offer richer options than before, including formatted text and images, as well as the ability to incorporate actions directly inside the pop-up -- Google offers the example of responding to an email right away. A new notification center will now also let you view a list of all notifications you might have missed, and you can thankfully disable notifications from as many sources as you like.
Filed under: Internet, Software, Google
Source: Google Chrome Blog, Chromium Blog
Amazon launches Kindle Worlds publishing platform for fan fiction, will pay royalties to writers and rights holders
Amazon's taken a number of steps to bring different types of content to the Kindle Store, and it's now venturing into an area that has a long history with the internet: fan fiction. The company's today announced Kindle Worlds, a new publishing platform that promises to pay writers royalties for stories inspired by established works. Naturally, the original rights holder needs to be a willing participant as well, and they'll also be paid a royalty for all fan fiction stories sold (Amazon itself with retain the rights to those stories). So what are your options for now? For the launch, Amazon has partnered with Warner Bros. Television Group's Alloy Entertainment to open up three of its series to fan fiction enthusiasts, giving you the chance to write stories set in the world of Gossip Girl, Pretty Little Liars or The Vampire Diaries. The company's promising that additional licenses are on the way, but for now you can check out the finer details in the press release after the break and at the source link below.
Filed under: Amazon
Source: Kindle Worlds
There are few gadgets more associated with crowdfunding than smartwatches, due largely to the millions raised by Pebble. Now, you can add one more competing for your attention (and your backing). A Kickstarter campaign for the Agent smartwatch kicked off today, promising to deliver a device with better battery life than its competitors and a developer-friendly environment to attract some all-important apps (it's using the .NET Micro Framework, with apps able to be written in in C# using Visual Studio 2012).
As for the watch itself, it packs a 1.28-inch memory display with anti-glare glass, an ARM Cortex-M4 processor (which promises to help on the power-consumption front), Qi wireless charging, motion and light sensors, and a water-resistent design with replaceable wrist straps. If all goes as planned, the company intends to begin full production of the watch in December of this year, with the final MSRP running $249 (or $299 including a Qi charger). Some of the Kickstarter options will get you one for less than that, although many of those have already been claimed.
Filed under: Wearables
Source: Agent, Kickstarter, Atmel
Indie developers have been able to take advantage of a free version of the Unity engine for desktop game development some time now, and starting today they can extend that development to mobile games at no added cost. The company's confirmed that it's dropping the $800 licensing fee for its Android and iOS build options, with BlackBerry 10 and Windows Phone 8 development also promised to be moving to a free option in the "coming months."
As Unity CEO David Helgason explained at the Unite Nordic conference earlier today, the company has been hoping to make the move "for what seems like forever," with his ultimate goal being to push the "democratisation of game development further than ever before." He further explains in a blog post that the new option comes with "no strings attached, no royalties and no license fees," apart from the prior rules that require large companies to use the paid version of Unity. As for those who've recently paid up for the mobile engine only to find it now free, Helgason says they can expect to hear from him in the next two weeks with an offer of discounts on future purchases.
Filed under: Gaming, Mobile
Via: TechCrunch, Pocket Gamer
The last few years have been a tumultuous time for LightSquared, with the company's LTE plans facing one hurdle after another that eventually led to a bankruptcy filing. It looks like at least one company is now looking to buy its most valuable asset, though, with Bloomberg reporting that Dish Network Chairman Charlie Ergen has put a $2 billion offer on the table for the company's wireless spectrum. That's yet to be confirmed by either party, and Bloomberg reports that the offer is a so-called stalking horse bid, which could still let others put in a higher offer of their own. As Bloomberg also notes, this all comes at the same time that Dish is looking to buy Sprint for over $25 billion, both of which would need regulatory approval before going through.
Filed under: Wireless
Hangouts upgrade disables outbound Google Voice calls in desktop Gmail, company promises it will return ‘soon’
Anyone who's tried out the new Hangouts feature in Gmail in place of the traditional Google Talk option got a bit of surprise when they went to make an outbound call from their computer. That feature gets disabled when the new Hangouts replacement is switched on, leaving folks looking to make calls with no other option than to revert to the old Google Talk in Gmail or seek out another alternative. That's apparently just a temporary change, though, as Google's Nikhyl Singhal has now confirmed that both outbound and inbound calls will "soon be available." Unfortunately, he's not getting any more specific than that for the time being. He did, however, reiterate that "Hangouts is designed to be the future of Google Voice," and that "making/receiving phone calls is just the beginning," further adding that "future versions of Hangouts will integrate Google Voice more seamlessly."
Filed under: Internet, Google
Source: Nikhyl Singhai (Google+)