Frederic Lardinois founded SiliconFilter in 2011. Before starting this site, he wrote about 1,500 articles for ReadWriteWeb. His areas of interest are consumer web and mobile apps, as well as Internet-connected devices like cars, smart sensors and toasters.
You can reach him at [email protected]
Usually, when we talk about plugins that crash our browsers, chances are that we are talking about Flash. Today, however, Mozilla announced that it is blocking the Skype Toolbar from its Firefox browser as it "is one of the top crashers of Mozilla Firefox 3.6.13, and was involved in almost 40,000 crashes of Firefox last week." The Skype toolbar examines every page you load for phone numbers and then re-renders these as clickable Skype buttons that enable users to initiate Skype calls right from their browser.
Groupon is the hottest thing on the Internet today. It doesn't come as a surprise that Google is preparing to launch a Groupon clone of its own now after an unsuccessful attempt to buy the company outright. But maybe it should come as a surprise. After all, the daily deal market is already full of competitors in every possible niche and Google is only a few months late to the party. There was a time where Google was launching innovative products - now it's just launching clones - and some of them, like Buzz, aren't even able to make much of a dent in their market.
Remember Google's Knol? The company's answer to Wikipedia? If you don't, you are not alone. Indeed, it's questionable whether Google itself remembers Knol. As the intrepid Google-watchers at the Google Operating System pointed out yesterday, not only does the site seem to suffer from major performance issues, but its software hasn't been updated for over a year now.
These days, you don't really have to ask kids to get off your lawn. Chances are, they have no interest in being on your lawn anyway and are playing computer games instead of wreaking havoc on your manicured lawn. According to a new study by Internet security firm AVG, today's kids are learning computer skills long before they are learning life skills.
OneNote is the unsung hero of Microsoft's Office suite. The note-taking application allows Windows users (there is no Mac version yet) to quickly take notes on their laptops, record audio, and compile images, videos and scanned documents into virtual binders. Starting today, OneNote is also available on the iPhone. The app marks the first time Microsoft has released an iPhone version of one of its Office products.
Drinking and driving is never a good idea, but if you to ensure that your DUI mugshot never goes viral, it'd be a good idea to stay especially sober while driving through the city of Huntington Beach, CA. According to the Associated Press, Huntington Beach's city council is currently considering a proposal that would allow the city's police department to post mugshots of everyone arrested for DUI on the city's Facebook page.
Flipboard, the personal magazine app for the iPad is probably one of the most hyped mobile app in recent memory, but even though it has lots of dedicated followers, I never quite warmed up to its idiosyncrasies. The idea of a personalized magazine-style app for the iPad, however, is more than intriguing and with NewsMix, Sobees is sending a new app ($2.99, iTunes link) into the race today that has the potential to beat Flipboard at its own game.
Earlier this morning, a disgruntled employee of Swiss bank Julius Baer handed over two CDs with the data of "2000 prominent people" to Wikileaks, which is currently vetting this information and will likely post it online within the next few weeks. The disks contain information about the financial transactions of "financial firms and wealthy individuals" from countries including the UK, U.S., and Germany.
Firefox 4 is running behind schedule, but today, Mozilla released the 9th beta version of its popular browser. This new version is mainly focused on improving speed and only features small interface enhancements. Thanks to a plethora of changes under the hood, Firefox now also starts significantly faster and complex animations will be smoother. Mozilla also notes that it has improved the bookmarks and history code, which should make bookmarking faster as well.
Very few developments in the tech world this week got as much attention as Google's announcement that it would slowly drop support for the H.264 video codec from its Chrome browser. Given how ubiquitous H.264 is - though it is also encumbered by patent and licensing issues - quite a few pundits shook their heads at this development. Today, Google published a more detailed explanation for this decision.
According to research firm ChangeWave, 15% of AT&T's mobile subscribers plan to switch carriers in the next 90 days. Even worse for AT&T, 26% of its iPhone users plan to defect to Verizon once it gets the iPhone (41% within the 90 days after the release of the iPhone and 31% within a year). With numbers like this and the general undercurrent of dislike for AT&T in the tech blogosphere, these statistics are obviously catnip for the tech press and most outlets reported them as simple facts.
Apple released the first beta of iOS 4.3 to developers yesterday and today the Internet is swirling with rumors about not just what's in iOS 4.3 but also about what this means for the next generation of iPads.
Here is a brief summary of all the rumors we have encountered so far.
After yesterday's Verizon iPhone announcement, it was already becoming clear that Apple would bring personal hotspots - that is the ability to use the iPhone as a WiFi router for up to 5 devices - to other networks as well. Today, Apple released the first beta of iOS 4.3 for iPhone and iPad to developers and this version does indeed offer personal hotspots just like the Verizon iPhone pundits got to gaze at yesterday.