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Category Archives: Software

Video VoIP Calling Comes To iPhone

2f04a702d349 By Gaurav Kheterpal

Somewhat old news here, but you should know that Apple has removed all restrictions that prohibited making Video VoIP calls on 3G networks using the iPhone. The iPhone SDK has also been modified in order to give developers access to the Video VoIP APIs. This means you can use either iCall or Fring (which supports Skype) to make Video VoIP calls on your device and the only catch is that your carrier must allow VoIP calls to work on 3G in addition to WiFi (good luck). While stability of video is an issue with both these apps, it’s still a welcome move by Apple.

Video calls are fun, make sure you try it out on your iPhone!

VIA [ Daemon News ]

Microsoft Outlines Windows 7 Upgrade Program

windows7-sb

By Shane McGlaun

We talked earlier about pricing for Windows 7 now that its launch is getting closer. The OS will debut in October, which is only months away. Many are expecting great things out of Windows 7 and it better deliver where Vista failed.

Microsoft says that anyone who buys a Vista equipped PC starting on June 26 will be eligible for an upgrade to Windows 7 for free. The catch is that only certain versions of Vista are eligible for upgrade. That means if you buy a cheap computer running Vista Basic, you get no upgrade.

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ATM Hunter for iPhone available from MasterCard

atmhunter

By Shane McGlaun

Last time I was in California for a conference, I spent a good hour trying to find an ATM to get some cash to eat lunch. I hate not being able to find an ATM and even in my hometown at times, it can be hard to find a place to grab some cash.

MasterCard has announced a new application for the iPhone and iPod touch called ATM Hunter that will find ATMs near you. The application uses the location functionality of the devices to pinpoint ATMs nearby.

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iHound Software Will Help Your Stolen Gadgets Phone Home

ihound software logo

By David Ponce

If this fantastic bit of software works as advertised, getting your stolen gadgets back from the miscreants who took them will become just a little bit easier. iHound Software is a free download that, once properly configured on your device, will automatically contact you as soon as it’s plugged into another computer via USB. You’ll get an email with the IP address of the computer it’s being used on, and it will even print out a dandy report which you can then bring to a police station. Hopefully you can then get your ISP to cooperate, and help locate the twit who thought it cool to swipe your iPod.

The software works on a variety of devices (list here), and is able to track up to three devices. The company plans on keeping this free, though they may release a Pro version in the future.

[ iHound Software ]

RoboDevelopment: ViPR Visual Pattern Recognition

ViPR

By Evan Ackerman

Even though the RoboDevelopment Conference was primarily about, well, robots, there was a lot of potential crossover technology that has huge applications for consumer electronics. One of the most impressive of these that I saw was the ViPR pattern recognition technology, under development by Evolution Robotics. ViPR uses a camera (like the one you probably have in your cellphone) to look for distinctive patterns in an image. For example, a piece of text would be a distinctive pattern of pixels that the software could then translate into a meaningful letter. But the technology goes way beyond that: whenever you see something, your brain is recognizing a distinctive pattern of light and saying “hey, that’s a tree!” or “hey, I’m in my living room!” Your brain can do this even if it’s seeing only a piece of an object, or seeing a place from a different perspective. ViPR is capable of making the same sort of inferences. It works with >80% accuracy at recognizing objects or places, even when it’s dark or when it has to deal with distortion. It can identify an object when up to 90% of the object isn’t visible. Basically, this lets electronics “see” in a meaningful manner, much in the same way that we do.

Applications for the ViPR system are everywhere. The military is using it to look for guys holding RPGs, since an RPG has a distinctive visual pattern that ViPR can identify, even if the RPG is being held at an angle and partially concealed at a distance in low light. Current commercial uses (in Europe, mostly) include ViPR acting as a tour guide on your cellphone: take a picture of a landmark, and your cellphone will recognize it and provide information. What I’d personally like to see is the integration of ViPR with Google Street View to provide a highly accurate urban pseudo-GPS system. All you would do would be to take a picture of where you were, the ViPR system would query Google’s Street View database and find a matching pattern, and you’d get your location back. Easy, right? Well, they’re working on it… They just need to get some major companies (cough Google cough) actively interested.

[ Evolution Robotics ViPR ]

Smart Image Resizing Cuts The Useless Out Of Your Pics

smart image resizing By Evan Ackerman

Like it or not, most of the time when you take a picture, a significant portion of the image is (for lack of a better word) useless. Or rather, there are lots of areas of the image that aren’t conveying any important information. Obviously this excludes you artsy-picture types, but if you’re just trying to show and/or explain something (which most of the images on the Internet, excluding porn, are probably trying to do) wouldn’t it be useful if you could make images smaller by selectively removing the least important pixels? Ariel Shamir of the Efi Arazi School of Computer Science in Israel has developed some software to automatically do just that, in realtime no less. Watch and be amazed:

So it’s obviously still a work in progress, but it’s already pretty clever and seems to have a working automated mode as well as a decent user interface. What with the population of itty bitty mobile devices capable of Internet browsing exploding like a rabbit warren underneath a Viagra factory, a little piece of software that can work behind the scenes to dynamically re-size images (in the same way that HTML dynamically re-sizes) could have a huge range of applications.

[ Content-Aware Image Resizing (PDF) ] VIA [ Neatorama ]

Symantec Wants To Make You An Offer You Can’t Refuse

symantec

By David Ponce

Oh, it’s a joke. But how true.

[ B3ta Boards ] VIA [ Digg ]

Safari Second-Guesses You When Setting Homepage To Google

safari google prompt

By David Ponce

Fun little piece of non-news: If you’re using Apple’s Safari, changing your homepage to any website in the world is a breeze; but if that site is Google, the browser throws this prompt at you:

“Are you sure you want to switch your home page to Google search? You can do a Google search directly from Safari’s search field without going to Google’s webpage.”

Of course, the likely reason this is happening is that Apple gets paid every time someone does a search through Safari’s search field, but it’s interesting behavior nonetheless.

It’s possible that this has been around for some time (and we hear it does the same thing with Yahoo!), but it’s the first we hear of it.

VIA [ The Raw Feed ]

Hot Or Not Composite Images

composite attractiveness

By David Ponce

It’s far removed from gadgets, but crap if it isn’t fascinating. An enterprising Flickr user by the name of Pierre Tourigny has been scouring the website Hot Or Not for pictures of women. There’s plenty of that, and then some. But what Pierre then did with the pictures is what’s so amazing. He grouped them by average attractiveness (users of the site get to rate the pictures they see), and then blended them together using a program called SquirtzMorph. The result is the image you see above.

He claims he did this as a study on attractiveness, but we just think we was having fun. Can’t blame him either. He also grouped and morphed images based on age and ethnicity, and you can see those two pictures after the jump.

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