Sunday, October 5, 2008

15 Rockin' Rockbox Themes for iPod

Did you know that it is possible to alter the look of your iPod's boring default graphical user interface? Thanks to Rockbox, an open source firmware for mp3 players, you don't have to be a hacker to customize the appearance of your iPod's GUI.

I've made a tutorial on installing Rockbox on a 5th generation iPod before, but you can visit Rockbox's website for a more up-to-date and detailed installation instructions for your specific iPod model.

I'm going to show to you some of the coolest user-uploaded Rockbox iPod themes that you can download for free. These are only for 5th generation iPod Video, but there are also available themes for other models as well. But first, let me show the default iPod 5G theme:

Now, feast your eyes on these rockin' Rockbox themes for iPod:

1. phkGUITAR

Download HERE

2. Molten Cobalt

Download HERE

3. Flow

Download HERE

4. phkVH

Download HERE

5. iPhoneLike

Download HERE

6. jBlackGlass Themes

Download HERE

7. phkTAPE

Download HERE

8. phkAMP

Download HERE

9. Ubuntu

Download HERE

10. phkOSC

Download HERE

11. Theme X HighBar

Download HERE

12. Stele

Download HERE

13. iNSANE

Download HERE

14. Crossbones

Download HERE

15. iPod Green5g

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News Site Criticized for Linking to Pirate Bay Torrents

Written by Ernesto

The Swedish news site Nyheter24 has been criticized for including a list of most downloaded TV-shows on their site, and linking directly to the torrent detail pages on The Pirate Bay. According to Henrik Pontén of the Swedish Anti Pirate Bureau, who led the Pirate Bay investigation, the news site is assisting copyright infringement.

download Earlier this week, Swedish news site Nyheter24 was launched. Backed by big investors, it aims to challenge the established newspapers online and appeal to a young readership with quick reporting.

Of course, since young readers are used to downloading the TV shows they want to watch, it was natural for Nyheter24 to include not only a top-list of conventional audience ratings on their TV schedules page, but also the top-list of most downloaded TV shows at The Pirate Bay. In addition, the site decided to link the entries in the top-list entries to the respective TV show’s torrent page on The Pirate Bay.

This didn’t fall too well with Henrik Pontén of the Swedish Anti Pirate Bureau. Pontén gathered fame earlier for manufacturing evidence against The Pirate Bay before the controversial raid, and spearheading the copyright lobby as charges were filed against the tracker in January.

“We consider this being ‘assisting copyright infringement’, just like The Pirate Bay itself. I assume this is a mistake and that they will remove the links,” he told The story didn’t discuss if sites that are linking to (or sites that link to sites that link to are also considered to be assisting in copyright infringement by Pontén.

Nyheter24 replied to Pontén’s accusations, and said that the The Pirate Bay admins have not yet been convicted of anything illegal, and that removal of the links only become matter of discussion if they, against all odds, will be. Hours later, however, Nyheter24 revised its position and removed the direct links to the torrent pages. The site kept the top-list on their TV schedules page, with a link to The Pirate Bay’s front page instead.

“We are removing the direct links since they may be illegal and it’s not our intention to challenge copyright law. However, half of the Swedish population downloads from the net and I’d love to have a partnership with The Pirate Bay,” said Douglas Roos, chairman of the Nyheter24 board.

If Henrik Pontén decides to pursue the matter, and file charges against Nyheter24 on the same basis as he went for The Pirate Bay, he will have a familiar face to battle in court. Nyheter24’s legal representative is none other than Monique Wadstedt, better known as the MPA’s judicial representative in Sweden and Pontén’s sidekick in their Don Quijote quest against The Pirate Bay.

“These boys will go to jail,” she said in January when charges were filed against The Pirate Bay. “I have no comments. I won’t answer further questions,” she said on Friday when asked for a comment about the criticism from her partner Henrik Pontén about her other partner Nyheter24.

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Google Chrome: One Month Later

Om Malik

Google Chrome BrowserEarlier this week,’s Svetlana Gladkova sent an email reminding me that Google’s Chrome Browser was one month old. How time flies, and how quickly we forget: or at least I did. After my initial few posts and thoughts, Google Chrome has fallen off my attention radar since it is not available for my preferred computing platform – OX X. I typically divide my browsing time between Safari and Camino.

I have checked it out occasionally by booting it up on Windows running via Parallels on my MacBook. Apparently, I am part of the median: Svetlana has been tracking the usage using Google Analytics, Clicky and Net Applications has seen a gradual decline in the usage. Gone is the download Chrome link from the Google home page. She points out that there are some fixes the browser needs and as a result Google might be quietly taking a step back. (Related Post: Why Chrome isn’t a killer browser just yet.)

Svetlana is right in being cautious on the chances of the Google browser, though I am not sure how to view the fact that it now accounts for about 5.6% of the traffic to GigaOM and now ranks as the fourth most usage browser. Across our network, here Chrome’s share of total visits by site: 6.13% (jkOnTheRun), 5.78% (OStatic), 5.06% (WebWorkerDaily), 3.09% (NewTeeVee), 2.43% (Earth2Tech) and 2.24% (TheAppleblog). [If you want to share information about your website/service in comments, it would be pretty cool.]

Those numbers can of course mean many things, like I have a lot of readers at Google. Of course, they remind me that I need to use Windows more often. Jokes aside, I think Google isn’t likely to give up on this browser for anytime soon. There are many reasons why they won’t let it become their Waterloo.

Google has realized that web is no more a mere collection of plain web pages or simple interface to databases. If not today then sometime in the near future we would expect equality in the experience (if not feature parity) between desktop and web applications. It is a future where browsers can’t be just html renderers but containers for a runtime environment. Anyway follow Svetlana – I have a sneaky suspicion she would be following Chrome’s progress (or lack of it) for a while.

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Key senators oppose DRM, ISP filtering in secret ACTA treaty

By Nate Anderson

Worries about the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) currently being drawn up in secret by the Bush administration are sometimes portrayed as "Chicken Little" concerns. Certainly, the US Trade Representative's office tried to ease everyone's mind last week with a public meeting about the treaty's progress, but it's not just digital rights groups like the EFF and Public Knowledge that are staring in horror at the sky. Even Congressional backers of the PRO-IP Act are demanding that ACTA be slowed and that a final agreement not include ISP or DRM provisions.

In a letter sent to Susan Schwab, the US Trade Representative, Senators Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Arlen Specter (R-PA) laid into the ACTA negotiating process. "We strongly urge you not to permit the agreement to address issues of liability for service providers or for technological protection measures," says the letter. "As technology is not static, Congress must have the ability to tailor the law as developments warrant."

US Trade Rep Susan Schwab

Most of the concerns are about the limits ACTA could put on "Congress's ability to make constructive policy changes in the future." But the concerns are compounded by "the lack of transparency inherent in trade negotiations" and the "speed with which the process is moving."

ACTA negotiators have previously announced that they want an agreement concluded by the end of this year, but in last week's meeting appeared to back up from that aggressive timetable. It's not clear why the speed is necessary, though it may be related to the end of the Bush Administration and the possibility that a new president could alter the course of negotiations.

The letter is notable for coming from Leahy and Specter; the two lead the Senate Judiciary Committee and have long supported strong intellectual property rights. Leahy, in fact, was the sponsor of the "Enforcement of Intellectual Property Rights Act of 2008," which passed the Senate recently after a name change (it's now known as the PRO-IP Act).

It's not clear that Leahy and Specter are against any of the items suggested for ACTA by various rightsholder groups, but the two senators are quite concerned that ACTA not limit Congressional power to adapt laws to circumstances. The cynical among us might see the letter as little more than an attempt to preserve personal power—that is, a battle of fiefdoms more than content. Whatever the motive, though, the concerns of two powerful lawmakers at least legitimize many of the worries about ACTA.

When the agreement is complete, the two senators hope it includes only "improved coordination among nations" and "robust, but flexible standards for civil criminal, and border enforcement." Too bad for the content owners who wanted ACTA to deal with mod chips, camcording in theaters, ISP filtering, warez, and "three strikes" rules—though we won't know for months whether ACTA negotiators took the senators' advice.

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Amazon's Kindle 2 leaked

Posted by David Carnoy

Old Kindle meet the new Kindle?

(Credit: Boy Genius Report)

After rumors surfaced on the Web a few months back that a new Kindle might be on the way, did its best to shoot them down, saying a new Kindle was not coming this year. Well, Boy Genius Report has gotten ahold of some photos that appear to be the Kindle 2, so we're curious what Amazon has to say now.

From the looks of the new device, Amazon has tried to address some of the criticisms of the Kindle, most of which revolve around its somewhat homely design and a few poorly placed buttons. The shape has been modified to make the new Kindle more attractive, but it appears Amazon is sticking with the same off-white color scheme--for better or worse.

Old back versus new back.

(Credit: Boy Genius Report)

The Boy Genius Report's mole or "ninja," has some comments about the new Kindle. First, ninja says the device is basically the same size as the older model, but is thinner and has "a slightly heavier feel, and it feels much sturdier." The source indicates the new model uses the same cellular EV-DO network for downloads (it's Sprint's network in the current model) and a metal back is visible in some of the pictures. I particularly appreciated the look of the new leather carrying pouch for the device since I don't like the existing Kindle's protective case. There are more photos here.

Boy Genius Report also notes:

As far as buttons go, on the right side, the bottoms from top to bottom are: Home, Next Page, Menu, a joystick, and Undo. On the left side, there's Previous, Page, and Next Page. We're told the buttons are significantly smaller to avoid accidental page turning. The joystick takes the place of the scroll wheel and it "takes a little getting used to." As far as the redesigned "has a good layout, but lettering on the keys could be darker." Continuing our tour around the unit, next to the sliding sleep button, there's the headphone jack, and on the right side edge you've got the volume up/down buttons. What's interesting (and you can see this in the photos) is that the backside of the unit is mostly metal with the speakers at the bottom pf the back. One more plus? They've finally ditched their own charger. The Kindle 2 is able to be charged with a miniUSB cable.

No word on when the next-generation Kindle will arrive, whether there will be a European model, or how much it will cost. However, I have a feeling we'll soon get an announcement from Amazon--if indeed this turns out to be a real product that will go up against the upcoming Sony Reader, the PRS-700, which features a touch-screen display and will hit stores next month in time for the holiday buying season.

As always, feel free to post your comments. What do you think of the design of the alleged Kindle 2? And how much do you think it will cost?

Original here

The 'Brick' is...

The MacBook Brick is a block of high-quality, aircraft grade aluminum. It is the beginning.

The beginning of what?

It is the beginning of the new Apple manufacturing process to make MacBooks. It is totally revolutionary, a game changer. One of the biggest Apple innovations in a decade.

The MacBook manufacturing process up to this point has been outsourced to Chinese or Taiwanese manufacturers like Foxconn. Now Apple is in charge. The company has spent the last few years building an entirely new manufacturing process that uses lasers and jets of water to carve the MacBooks out of a brick of aluminum.

(Yes, this sounded a bit crazy to us as well. But our source is adamant so bear with us. He says Apple has built a manufacturing process that would make Henry Ford proud.)

This isn't entirely new. Steve Jobs has always had a fondness for having his own plant to produce computers. In 1990, he built a totally automated plant in Fremont California (thanks PED) that could build NeXT machines with only 100 workers. It was a "plant with just about everything: lasers, robots, speed, and remarkably few defects." Unfortunately, the demand wasn't very high at the time. However, Jobs remarked, "I'm as proud of the factory as I am of the computer."

One thing about Steve Jobs is that he seems to always return to his failures and then turn them into successes. That is where our information ends and speculation begins.

What advantages are there to manufacturing with 3D laser and water jet cutting?

  • Carving out of aluminum eliminates the need to bend the metal and create weak spots or microfolds and rifts.
  • There are no seams in the final product, so it is smooth.
  • Screws aren’t needed to tie the products together.
  • The shell is one piece of metal so it is super light, super strong and super cheap.
  • You can be a whole lot more creative with the design if you don't have to machine it.

As Peter Oppenheimer said at the recent earnings call, this innovation is something "Apple's competitors won't be able to match" for some time to come. We expect the process to drive down the prices of MacBooks over the next few years and at the same time allow Apple to continue to lead in the innovation department. Design changes should come much more rapidly with rapid prototyping.

The newly designed MacBooks are still on target for an October 14th announcement and the press should be getting invites within the next few days. There are still so many questions to be answered. I am sure Steve Jobs will enjoy answering them.

Where does PA Semi fit into this? What about former Segway CTO, Doug Field who was hired as Apple VP of product design a few months ago?

We realize that a lot of people will be skeptical but bear with us for a few weeks. Remember when we said there were going to be aluminum iMacs? Fat nanos? iPod Touch? Slim, MacBook Air? Basically, every major product that Apple has released over the past 15 months. We are putting a lot on the line here for this mother of all rumors...wish us luck :D

For the possibilty of Apple building a facility in the US, click here.

(oh, and sorry for the was at the behest of our source)

Original here

Apple Misses iPhone Push Notification September Deadline

So here I'm in Neeeew Yooork. Teeeeerrific! (That's my Andy Warhol impersonation). One of the first things I did this week was to get a US cellphone contract, and since I was there, what the heck, I replaced my broken-screen iPhone with a brand new iPhone 3G—which required a $500 deposit because I have no credit history in this country. But I digress. The important thing is that I discovered that one of the best things of this phone—the one that truly made it a BlackBerry killer—didn't work after I tried it: Push notification services are not working yet.

After buying the iPhone I remembered that I could get annoyed every five seconds with its built-in push mail. I checked the preferences and I saw Push was turned on. Then I waited.

I waited. And waited. And then waited some more. But nothing arrived. Push wasn't working.

In fact, according to reports in support forums, the whole thing is not working well yet. But what's not working at all is the Push Notification services that Apple promised to developers. Apple has yet to put these online, so third-party applications can receive information from the network in the background, in real time, without having to waste battery life or processor power pooling the servers every few minutes.

Apple was supposed to have the Push Notification service in place in September, but September has passed and there is no fix in sight. Hopefully it will come out soon because, for businesses, developers, and people addicted to instant-everything, at this point the iPhone is not the solution they were looking for.

Original here

Apple snoozes, researcher discloses risky iPhone UI flaws

By David Chartier

Aviv Raff's example of a simple URL redirection trick
that can trump iPhone's Mail application

Apple is arguably getting more proactive about iPhone security exploits. The iPhone OS 2.0 release fixed quite a few bugs, and last month's 2.1 update was no security slouch either. Still, in the face of Apple recruiting full-time iPhone hackers, an Israeli researcher has released details on two potentially dangerous—though seemingly innocuous—design flaws that he says the company has ignored for too long.

Explained on his blog (hat tip to MacNN), Aviv Raff says that two particular behavioral choices—but not necessarily security holes—in iPhone's Mail application can lead to phishing and spamming exploits. The first involves URL redirections due to the unique way Mail displays the actual URL of a linked portion of text. Mail will display the full text of a URL in a message, but a tap-and-hold operation on the URL will truncate its address in a popup tooltip if it's longer than ~24 characters. If a malicious attacker exploits this URL display disparity the right way. According to Raff's example, a URL in a Mail message could read "," but actually link to a page at ""

The iPhone's next security problem stems from Mail's affinity for automatically downloading images in most messages unless they are significantly large or there are too many attachments. Most e-mail clients (including Mail on the desktop) offer various safeguards around this behavior, including preferences for downloading images from contacts in an address book or simply requiring all images to be manually downloaded on a per-message basis. Since the iPhone offers no such preferences, an image in a spam message will automatically download, verifying to the spammer that the address is active and ripe for more spam.

Both of these flaws—or perhaps more accurately, "design choices"—would be pretty easy to alter in the name of safety, according to Raff. He told Apple about the exploits months ago (before even iPhone OS 2.0 landed), but even through two subsequent OS updates (2.0.1 and 2.1) the company has simply said it is "working on" the problems. Raff chose to publish these details, as many frustrated researchers do, because of Apple's apparent inaction.

Original here

topright Fring Enables VoIP Calls Over Wi-Fi for iPhone with Skype Support

Fring has released the iPhone version of their service today as a free download in the App Store.

Fring allows you to chat and interact with others on a variety of networks including Skype, MSN, GoogleTalk, AIM, Yahoo, Twitter, and ICQ. In addition, Fring offers Voice-over-Internet Protocol (VoIP) using the iPhone's Wi-Fi connection. Features listed include:

• VoIP (Voice) Calls over WiFi
• Instant Messaging
• Integrated dynamic contact list 
with real-time contact availability
• SIP integration
• Multiple Connection types

Fring supports SkypeOut and SIP which allows you to make calls to landline and mobile phones. Some charges may apply depending on the type of call and plan. Fring is available as a free download in the App Store. (App Store Link)

Steve Jobs had said that VoIP calls over Wi-Fi was allowable in the App Store when the iPhone SDK was first released. Fring should also work with the new iPod touch, which supports an external microphone.

Update: Some are confused about the benefits of fring. One user details some of the features:

- Can call directly using iPhone to another person with iPhone running Fring
- Call MSN or Skype users that are using their computer
- Call using Skype account, which allows you to have your own Skype number and at a discount rate for international calls
- Receive phone calls using Skype with your own custom Skype number
- Basic chat functions with most chat platforms, such as AIM, Yahoo and ICQ

Update 2: This YouTube video demos using Fring on an iPod Touch to call a cell phone for free. This Video walks through how it is accomplished.

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