Firefox flirts with Blekko for 'instant' search

Posted by Harshad

Firefox flirts with Blekko for 'instant' search

Firefox flirts with Blekko for 'instant' search

Posted: 22 May 2012 05:09 PM PDT

The Blekko add-on from Mozilla Labs provides a new take on 'instant' search results.

(Credit: Mozilla)

Mozilla may not have a dedicated in-house search engine division the way that Google and Microsoft do, but it does have a new partnership with alterna-search Blekko.

The Blekko add-on (download), developed by Mozilla Labs' Prospector team, aims to cut down on the repetitive search behaviors of many Firefox users. Mozilla says that its research indicates that people often search for the same term, not because they're looking to find it again but because they're attempting to navigate elsewhere. This add-on, like Google's Instant search feature, cuts down on the extra steps by pre-caching sites, showing preview pages, and recognizing commonly searched-for terms from only a few typed letters.

The add-on changes your default search to Blekko, and it's restartless, which means that Firefox won't have to be closed and re-opened to use the add-on.

To use it, go to your search box and begin typing. If the first letter you hit is "T," a drop-down will appear with links to Target, Twitter, Ticketmaster, and a few other sites. Direct links are indicated by the site's icon, while search results for a particular term are d... [Read more]

Top weather apps for iOS

Posted: 22 May 2012 04:29 PM PDT

Whether you live in rainy Seattle or are expecting thunderstorms in Albany, N.Y., it's always a good idea to carry solid weather apps on your iPhone for quick forecasts.

The Weather Channel released version 5.0 of its app late last week with an upgraded interface and a few more features that will be useful to amateur meteorologists everywhere, but it doesn't have everything. One of the more useful parts of any local weather forecast is when you get to see the live Doppler radar for your location. The Weather Channel will show you a radar overlay, but you can't see it move. That's where the second app in this one-two punch comes in, NOAA Hi-Def Radar.

With this pair of apps, you might find that one or the other is the best weather app for you, but hopefully this comparison will help you find what best fits your needs.

You'll get almost all the weather info you need, but you'll have to put up with the ads.

(Credit: Screenshot by Jason Parker/CNET)

The Weather Channel (Free) is a weather-monitoring application that provides many more features than Apple's built-in Weather app. Released first in 2008, the app recently received a complete overhaul to the interface, adding features that make it even easier to check weather conditions wherever you are.

You can find paid ... [Read more]

Apple releases digital raw compatibility update 3.13

Posted: 22 May 2012 04:02 PM PDT

For photographers who use the raw sensor data format for image manipulation, Apple has issued an update that supports new camera models from Canon, Nikon, Olympus, Panasonic, and Sony.

The raw format is a device-specific collection of raw sensor data (hence the name) that, like the film of a contemporary camera, can be manipulated in similar ways that a developer could use to produce unique adjustments to the image that cannot be done with the final positive bitmap image. Since the sensors and other features in each camera are different, each device will have its own raw format and needs specific support before editing programs can make use of them.

Apple has regularly provided raw support updates so photographers can use their raw image formats with both iPhoto and Aperture, and today's update adds support for some of the latest camera models to the full list of supported devices. This update specifically adds support for the following models:

  • Canon EOS-1D X
  • Nikon D800E
  • Nikon D3200
  • Olympus OM-D E-M5
  • Panasonic LUMIX DMC-GF5
  • Sony Alpha SLT-A57

The update should be available via Software Update, but it can also be downloaded from the Apple Support Web site. It is a relatively small 8MB download and requires at least OS X 10.6.8 to install.

Questi... [Read more]

Get fast directions to your favorite destinations with QuickMaps

Posted: 22 May 2012 02:52 PM PDT


(Credit: Rob Lightner/CNET)

Google Maps has made it much easier to get directions from one place to another, but it can still be a pain, especially on mobile devices. QuickMaps aims to make it much simpler to get to your favorite destinations. Here's how it works:

  1. Install QuickMaps (Android | iOS).
  2. You should see a screen preloaded with sample destinations.
  3. Press "Edit" at the top right and tap any of the eight circles on the periphery to edit the location name and address. Continue until you've got as many destinations as you'd like (well, up to eight).
  4. To get directions, just select a mode of transportation from the top and then swipe from one circle to another. Google Maps comes up immediately and shows you the best route.

That's it! This is a simple, intuitive app that makes mobile navigation even easier.

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Clueful scans your iOS apps for privacy behavior

Posted: 22 May 2012 12:17 PM PDT

Clueful tells you what kinds of information your apps access.

(Credit: Josh Lowensohn/CNET)

A new iOS app aims to make app privacy more transparent and easier to stay on top of, especially when it comes to information-tracking you might not have even realized what was going on behind the scenes.

Security firm Bitdefender today rolled out Clueful (iTunes), an app that lets you see what information other applications installed on your phone might have access to.

Once installed, the $3.99 app scans your device to see what's installed and puts it in an ordered list that can be filtered based on the various kinds of behavior. This includes things like:

  • Apps that can track location
  • Apps that can read the address book
  • Apps that might drain battery
  • Apps that use iPhone's unique ID
  • Apps that display ads
  • Apps that gather analytics

These behaviors are listed in the results, and -- if present -- are explained in each app's detail page; however, the app doesn't go so far as to show you a log of how often this happens. Clueful also notes whether your data is being encrypted, and if app makers anonymize you as a... [Read more]

Use Hashtag App to monitor Twitter, Instagram hash tags

Posted: 22 May 2012 10:39 AM PDT

Hash tags on Instagram and Twitter both offer a great way to follow what's going on with a particular topic or event. One providing the conversation, while the other provides an illustration.

Tracking a hash tag in most Twitter apps on the iPhone is a simple process. Tracking a hash tag in the Instagram app takes a bit more work, however. If you have an event coming up and want to quickly and easily follow it on Twitter and Instagram, give Hashtag App (free) on your iPhone a try.

(Credit: Screenshot by Jason Cipriani/CNET)
  • You can either enter a custom hash tag in the text field at the top, or quickly search a trending hash tag by tapping on it at the bottom.

    After entering a search term, Hashtag App will search the public Twitter and Instagram streams and display any results in one convenient feed.

  • (Credit: Screenshot by Jason Cipriani/CNET)
  • Once you are done viewing a particular hash tag, tap on the X to go back to the main screen. That's all there is to it.

The ability to save a search term for quick access is missing from the app and would be a great addition. All in all, the app works as advertised and makes the following of a topic on more than one social network a breeze.

(Via: ... [Read more]

How to protect your smartphone from malicious QR codes

Posted: 22 May 2012 10:25 AM PDT

(Credit: Screenshot by Ed Rhee/CNET)

QR codes are a fun way to share information and they're starting to appear in all sorts of places. QR codes often contain Web links, that when scanned, automatically take you to the Web site.

As QR codes become more prevalent, however, it might be a good idea to start checking the QR codes, before allowing your browser to load unknown links.

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To address potentially malicious QR codes, Symantec has released a QR code scanner that will check links before loading them in your browser. Scanning a QR code with Norton Snap (iOS | Android) will check the link, then provide you with a clear safety rating. If you want to continue loading the link, you simply tap on the full link address. You can also tap on the rating box to view more details about the site.

Norton Snap... [Read more]

Amazon brings Appstore Test Drive to the handset

Posted: 22 May 2012 10:08 AM PDT

Amazon's Appstore Test Drive.

(Credit: Amazon)

If you're not sure if you want to buy an application, you can now try it out before you drop your cash.

Amazon announced yesterday that Android device owners will now be able to test drive applications, in its Appstore before they buy. The new Test Drive feature is currently available in beta, and only supports apps that use the touch screen and accelerometer features. Apps that require using the keyboard, multitouch, or the camera, among other components, are not currently supported.

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Microsoft: 350 million Windows 7 devices to be shipped in 2012

Posted: 22 May 2012 08:28 AM PDT

(Credit: Microsoft)

Although Windows 8 is expected to hit store shelves later this year, Microsoft believes its current operating system, Windows 7, will have an awfully good year.

Speaking at a forum in Seoul this week, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer said that his company expects 350 million Windows 7-based devices to be shipped this year. Bloomberg, which was in attendance at the event, was first to report on the news. Ballmer said that the operating system's success "makes Windows the most popular single system."

If that many Windows 7 devices are actually shipped this year, it would indicate accelerated demand for the platform. In April 2011, Microsoft announced that it had sold 350 million Windows 7 licenses in the operating system's first 18 months of availability.

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