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]
According to Om Malik and the Wall Street Journal, AOL is in the process of acquiring TechCrunch, arguably the world's foremost technology blog. For the time being, this is only a rumor, but with sources like GigaOm and the WSJ, it sure feels like a very sold rumor. It's worth noting, though, this is not the first time we've heard about a possible sale of TechCrunch and none of the other possible sales ever worked out.
Apple just released a new version of iTunes for Mac and PC that makes some much-needed changes to how the company integrates its social network Ping into the application. Until now, not only was Ping somewhat hidden in iTunes, but you could also only really interact with it from within the iTunes store and not from within your iTunes library. Unless your friends are compulsive music shoppers, chances are that few of them ever went through the store to mark their favorite songs. Now, however, in the new version of iTunes (10.0.1), you can very easily like songs right from within your music library and you can choose to see a sidebar with the latest activity from your Ping friends while browsing your library. Chances are that this will raise the activity level on Ping, though it remains to be seen if this will be a dramatic change.
Whenever I hear people discussing Microsoft, it usually doesn't take long before somebody mentions that the Redmond-based giant is like a huge oil tanker. It takes a while to turn such a huge company around and get it back on track. When Microsoft stumbled after the dotcom boom and couldn't even produce a viable browser to compete with the open-source offerings of Mozilla, quite a few pundits assumed that the age of Microsoft was about to come to an end (the less said about the disaster that was Windows Vista, the better).
Most Android phones allow users to protect their phones from unauthorized access by drawing a pattern on their device's touchscreens. According to a team of researchers from the University of Pennsylvania, however, these graphical passwords are actually extremely easy to crack, as "oily residues, or smudges, on the touch screen surface, are one side effect of touches from which frequently used patterns such as a graphical password might be inferred."
If you own an Android phone with the latest Android 2.2 Froyo update, you can now use your voice to control almost all of the most often used features of the phone. With Voice Actions for Android, users can use voice commands to perform actions like sending text messages (" "send text to Allison Miller Running late. I will be home around 9"), play specific songs from their music collection ("listen to the New Pornographers"), go to websites, send email, write a note, search Google and view a map and get directions.