Tech Week In Review

Tech Week in Review 12-16-2011

Facebook Timeline Available Everywhere

Facebook launched Timeline in limited form a while back, but now it is available to all worldwide. In addition to,  Timeline is also now active on Android and It’s a new spin on your Facebook profile that allows you and your friends to easily see posts all the way back to the birth of your account. As Facebook puts it, Timeline lets you “tell your life store with a new kind of profile” and it’s definitely not the type of profile layout we might be used to.

While it seems that Twitter, Facebook, and Google+ seem to have come to an agreement on how profiles should be handled (based on early designs from FriendFeed, who now work at Facebook), Facebook is definitely taking a step in a whole different direction here. Check out Facebook’s introduction to Timeline and click “Get Timeline” to get started immediately.

Gowalla Checks in at Facebook. Permanently

Gowalla, considered a competitor to location-based check-in service Foursquare by most, has officially announced they will be acquired by Facebook. After attending the F8 conference, the Gowalla team was “blown away” by Facebook’s developments. Facebook contacted them and the rest will soon be history as they agreed that joining forces would work for both sides. Gowalla as a service will be shutting down towards the end of January and will provide an easy way to export Passport data, Stamp and Pin data, and photos. While Facebook will be acquiring the Gowalla talent, it doesn’t appear they will be getting the data. Of course, this hasn’t stopped people from rushing to shut down their Gowalla accounts ASAP.

via Gowalla

Why Android is “Laggy”

There was much discussion this week on why, as compared to iOS, Android seems laggy or slow to respond in some cases. We first saw a post from Andrew Munn who said that iOS prioritizes user interactions over anything else while Android takes a more standard approach to multitasking. He concluded that the entire Android framework would need to be re-written to provide similar functionality. Days later, +Dianne Hackborn (an actual Android framework engineer), refuted most of the original post and provided some insight into what actually is going on here. Ultimately, she concludes that the secure sandbox architecture of Android is the cause of performance overhead and that faster hardware will be the solution. Definitely worth the read if you’re into mobile development.

Google Launches Sexy Social Reading App: Currents

Google is not well-known for creating beautiful interfaces, but has done very well creating useful apps and services. Their new mobile app Currents (available for Android and iOS) is a bit of both, though. Not only does it provide you with most of your favorite online publications at your fingertips, but they are presented in a beautiful and clean user interface.

Google Currents is a new application for Android devices, iPads and iPhones that lets you explore online magazines and other content with the swipe of a finger. It brings together this content in a beautiful and simple way so you can easily navigate between words, pictures and video on your smartphone or tablet. — Google Mobile Blog

Currents is likely geared toward tablet users, but still works and looks awesome on my Android smartphone. It appears Google thinks they can take a bite out of Flipboard’s pie. Initially launched exclusively on iPad, Flipboard just recently launched for iPhone, but still doesn’t cover Android at all. Currents still has a way to go, though. One major party foul is that it doesn’t save your place when you switch apps.

via 9to5Google

Facebook Subscribe Button for Websites

The Facebook Subscribe feature lets users subscribe to your updates without actually being your friend on Facebook. Now, Facebook is launching the Subscribe Button for Websites. This handy-dandy button lets users subscribe to your Facebook updates in one click from your own website. This subscribe action is also shared to the user’s feed for all their “friends” to see, which allows others to subscribe to you directly from the news feed and creates opportunity for your page to go viral.

via Facebook

WordPress 3.3 “Sonny” Released

The latest version of WordPress software was released earlier this week. WordPress 3.3, named “Sonny”in honor of the great jazz saxophonist Sonny Stitt, brings significant changes and polish to the wordpress interface in addition to a few bells and whistles. Most interesting are the Tumblr importer and drag-and-drop uploader, but they’ve also focused on new WordPress users. There is now help info integrated across the user interface. The dashboard exprience on tablets has also been enhanced and there are is “a ton of candy” for developers.


Want Windows Phone 7? Complain About Android Malware.

According to Naked Security, Microsoft’s new Windows Phone 7 campaign focuses on Android users. More specifically, those Android users who have been victims of Android malware. I’m not a fan of brands attacking their competition to succeed, but Microsoft’s Windows Phone “evangelist” Ben Rudolph seems to think this is the way to go. He’s adopted the hashtag #droidrage, which links to articles about Android malware. Rudolph says he will give an “upgrade” to a Windows Phone to the “5 best (worst?)” stories. There is even a #droidrage Christmas song.

Siri for iPhone 4?

CultOfMac reports that changes in iOS 5.0.1 make a Siri port legally possible and more practical to implement by opening up access to previously encrypted system files. Existing hacks of Siri on the iPhone 4 are not only illegal due to using copyrighted binaries from the iPhone 4S, but also require using a third-party servers in China to transfer data.

MuscleNerd, a prominent figure in the jailbreaking and hacking community, recently tweeted that the iOS 5.0.1 update from today features decrypted ramdisks, making it possible to extract the necessary files for a Siri port without infringing on Apple’s copyright. MuscleNerd said, “it’s the first public 4S ipsw where the main filesystem keys are obtainable (due to non-encrypted ramdisks).”

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