Instant Messaging on OS X? Ditch iChat and update to Adium version 1.3!

17 06 2008

This article is a brief look into the latest version of the messaging program Adium.

If you aren’t already familiar with Adium, and you are running OS X- please download it now. Adium is basically the VLC of Instant Messaging applications- the swiss army knife that does it all, and with style. Completely Cocca based, licensed under a GNU General Public License, Adium is free and even highly customizable.

The Adium team, headed by Evan Schoenberg (Lead Developer) and Eric Richie (Project Manager) has been rapidly developing the latest version of Adium- version 1.3. Still in beta form, Adium 1.3 features a number of improvements over the current 1.2.5 build. Some of the best are highlighted below:

Complete redesign of the Contact Inspector (formerly the Get Info Window)

The contact inspector and integration with Address Book has been greatly improved in Adium 1.3.

Added Facebook Chat service to Adium

The new Facebook Chat protocol is now supported in Adium version 1.3.

Added a search field to the Standard Contact List window

Alike the new Contact search in the upcoming iPhone 2.0 firmware, Adium now supports searching your contacts, both online and off. Simply click in the Buddy List window and start typing- your results will be instantly filtered.

Major performance improvements, most notable when signing on multiple accounts simultaneously and when chatting while other applications are making heavy use of your hard drive.

Adium 1.3 has indeed been improved and most notably on older machines where system resources are tight.

If you would like to update to Adium 1.3 now, download Adium 1.2.5; and in Adium>Preferences>General check “Update to Beta Versions when Available”. This will allow you to run the latest betas of Adium, and the final release when it comes out.

Apple goes head to head with Sony and Nintendo with the iPhone 2.0 software

17 06 2008

There are few target audiences that Apple’s products fail to appeal to these days, but one market they have yet to tap is the growing legion of digital gaming fans. Since Microsoft’s buyout of Bungie Studios in 2000, there have been few games for Apple fans to look forward to, excluding the valiant efforts of dedicated Mac exclusive developer Pangaea and cross platform games from developer Blizzard Entertainment. Steve Jobs continues to remain seemingly uncooperative with the game industry, rejecting an offer from PC mega-developer Valve to port its Half-Life 2 series to OS X.

An early screenshot of Bungie\'s Halo project

But when Apple announced its ambitious touch screen iPhone device in early 2007, many gamers hoped that Apple would break into the mobile gaming market. The device seemed to be ideal for game design, featuring a large bright screen, input in the form of a touch screen and accelerometer, a 3D acceleration chip and the ability to download games from anywhere with cellular reception. Also, by entering the market four years after the release of the Nintendo DS and the PSP, the iPhone will have a substantial technical advantage over its competition. The PSP uses a 333 MHz CPU, the DS uses two co-processers, clocked at 67 and 33 MHz, where the iPhone utilizes a 620 MHz ARM chip. The iPhone has similar advantages in terms of RAM, storage and wireless capabilites. In fact, the only thing holding the Apple device back is its less than ideal input capabilites.

After repeatedly denying that they would allow 3rd party software development for an entire year, Apple confirmed that they would open the device up to developers, subsequently causing a flood of speculation into the prospects for gaming on the device. The first demonstrations of the iPhone’s gaming abilities were promising to say the very least. At Apple’s iPhone SDK announcement in March, Apple engineers demonstrated the capabilities of the platform with their internally developed game titled Touch Fighter, a Rouge Squadron/StarFox like flight combat sim. The game utilized the touch screen for aiming/shooting, the accelerometer for direction, and was fully 3D, even utilizing the OpenAL API to perform a limited 3D sound function. Mega-publisher EA, who had previously committed to develop more games for the Mac platform, demonstrated a mobile version of the first stage of its upcoming Spore franchise. And Sega showed off a build of Super Monkey Ball, making good use of the accelerometer, a control scheme that had gained much acclaim on the Nintendo Wii system. Apple and the other developers that had time with the SDK claimed that some of these applications, such as SMB had been developed in a period as short as just two weeks. The demonstration was a success; anticipation for iPhone games became frenzied.

During the past week at WWDC, iPhone gaming came back into the spotlight. Apple demonstrated numerous games, including additions from Pangaea Software in the form of two ports: the puzzle game Enigmo, and a port of its cult classic title Cro-Mag Rally. Moo Cow Music presented a suite of instrument simulations in an application called Band, featuring a virtual drum set, guitar, bass, keyboard and multi-function blues simulator. Band also allows for a number of recording features and the ability to combine tracks from multiple recordings, putting it several steps ahead of more casual games like Guitar Hero and Rock Band.

But the real test will come once developers start to push the iPhone 2.0 platform into the same arena as the DS and PSP game systems. Vying for the hardcore gamer market is not something that any mobile phone system has been successful in doing as of yet, despite the efforts of Nokia’s N-Gage platform. Enter Digital Legends Entertainment, formerly one of the few N-Gage exclusive developers. Their entry into the iPhone foray is the platform exclusive Kroll, a third person sidescroller title that bears some resemblance to God of War, to which the developer has compared Kroll to.

Kroll by Digital Legends

Resting the fate of the iPhone’s hardcore gaming potential on an untried N-Gage developer isn’t exactly fair however. To fill that niche steps in John Carmack of iD, who has promised that his studio will create an iPhone title. As of now, no commercial titles have been confirmed, but several videos have popped up of Doom 3/Doom Arena running on iPhone hardware. As if that wasn’t enough, a multi-player, networked version has also been demonstrated. There’s no question that the level of graphical prowess is rapidly approaching that of mainstream mobile game systems, but whether or not the iPhone can successfully emulate the gameplay of a dedicated gaming device remains to be seen.

Apple has a real chance to get gaming right this time around, let’s only hope they have what it takes. If you liked this article and would like to read more about iPhone gaming, check out our guide of upcoming iPhone games.

A comprehensive guide to iPhone firmware 2.0 Gaming (SDK)

16 06 2008

With 26 days until the launch of iPhone 2.0 , we have a whole extra month to check out what the future has in store. Below, we’ve compiled a guide to all of the games that are headed for the App Store.


Spore on the iPhone

SimCity and The Sims creator Will Wright’s next big thing, with a development cycle rivaling that of the construction of the Great Pyramids. The full game has been heralded as the second coming of gaming, featuring a heavy emphasize on user created content, and procedural generation. It has been announced for the PC, Mac (via a Cider port) and a variety of console platforms, notably the Nintendo DS. Both the iPhone and DS versions appear to be a faithful recreation of nothing but the first stage of the game, in which the player controls a microscopic version of his future creature, that build that foundation for the rest of the players evolution.
Demo at Apple SDK announcement
Additional info

SEGASuper Monkey Ball

Super Monkey Ball on the iPhone

A puzzle platformer that made its debut as an arcade game, it’s wild success made it a good choice as a launch title on the GameCube, Super Monkey Ball and its sequels have become a staple of the child focused console game market. The game has featured multiplayer since it’s release on the GameCube, the existence of a multiplayer feature for the iPhone version of the game, has as of yet, been unconfirmed. However, the control scheme is very similar to that of the Wii title, Super Monkey Ball: Banana Blitz, in which the Wiimote is held parallel to the ground and tilted in the direction the player wishes to move.
Keynote Demo
Interview with SEGA’s Ethan Einhorn
Additional info

PangaeaEnigmo and Cro-Mag Rally

Enigmo on the iPhone

Long time Mac exclusive developer Pangaea has added two of its most popular games to the foray. Enigmo is a puzzle game, in which players must manipulate the movement of an unknown liquid into a tank, using items such as bumpers, sliders, accelerators, and sponges. Cro-Mag Rally is a third person racing game, not unlike Mario Kart, in which players race through different periods in ancient history. The Mac version features networked multi-player, though this feature is unconfirmed for the iPhone build.
Additional Info

Developer Website

GameLoft – Multiple

GameLoft Titles for iPhone

GameLoft is rapidly becoming the EA of the mobile phone gaming market. Based out of France, the company has over 4,000 employees and posted a revenue of $140 million in 2007. Though the company mainly develops games for the Java, BREW and Symbian platforms, the company has announced plans to publish no fewer than 15 titles for the iPhone. The details posted so far suggest that GameLoft will stick to its strengths and develop mostly casual titles.
Brain Challenge
Chess and Backmaggon
Bubble Bash

Int13Crazy Cart 2

int13 Crazy Cart 2

Another French mobile developer, Int13 has created a slick cart racing title for the iPhone. Rather than use tilt controls for movement like most developers, Int13 has opted for a multitouch steering wheel. A step in the right direction if you ask us; until the accuracy of the iPhone accelerometer is proven, our guess would be that it’s going to be fairly unreliable for accurate controls.
Announcment at MacRumors
Video Demo on YouTube

iDDoom 3, Doom Arena

A homebrewed copy of Doom for Jailbroken iPhones

John Carmack of iD game was one of the first game developers to openly declare his frustration with Apple’s 3rd party apps quarantine, back in the summer of ’07. The announcement of the SDK however seems to have filled his heart with warm fuzzy joy, and has hinted that he may be working on a title for the iPhone. In a post on Slashdot (http: SLASH SLASH www.Slashdot DOT com… hehe) Carmack wrote “…The ability to distribute larger applications than the over-the-air limits and effectively market your title with more than a dozen character deck name, combined with the reasonable income split make this look like a very interesting market.”
Re:Mr. Carmack are you still around?
Quake 3 Arena ported to iPhone/iPod Touch

Digital Legends EntertainmentKroll

Kroll by Digital Legends

This N-Gage developer gained loads of positive press at WWDC last week with their demonstration of third person sidescroller Kroll. Following in the footsteps of Ready At Dawn’s God of War, this title promises to bring a hardcore gaming flare to a market that so far has seen mostly casual titles. Thank the gods Jobs decided to let these guys on stage rather than yet another “casual” title like say…

PopCap Games Bejeweled, Zuma and Peggle

Surprising many, Peggle’s release in February of last year yielded a firestorm of critical acclaim and mainstream success. The addictive arcade title lets players choose one of ten playable characters as they try to clear 55 stages of peg destroying madness. The game received several awards, and was named one of the Top 5 most addictive computer games of all time by MSNBC. In an Apple press release, PopCap CEO confirmed that his company was developing multiple titles for the iPhone, including Peggle
Peggle for iPhone confirmed
Apple press release


The arcade classic, pacman

Ah PacMan, where would we be without you? This arcade legend has defined the gaming industry for decades, and has been ported to almost every kind of electronic device ever made. It is fitting then, that Namco would jump at the chance to add yet another check on its list of platforms supported. Like PopCap, Namco pledged its support in Apple’s press release following its iPhone SDK announcement, confirming both PacMan and Galaga for the App Store.
Namco, PopCap, THQ Pledge iPhone Support

IG FunRe-Volt and BioShock

BioShock: 2007 Game of the Year

Nothing good can come of a developer most comfortable making crappy licensed games on the BREW platform, getting the rights to horribly rape publish the 2007 Game of the Year, BioShock. IG Fun has already revealed their plans to make a BREW version of the game, but revealed to Pocket Gamer that they had plans to develop an iPhone version. Though they have yet to show any footage of the game, the developer has demonstrated an internally developed game called Re-Volt on the iPhone that looks like an unintuitively controlled Unreal set game, with enemies that have animations uncomfortably similar to the spider Splicers from BioShock.
Latest on BioShock Mobile
Re-Volt first-person shooter for iPhone
IG Fun’s Official Website

This list was compiled through research on the internet. As we uncover more information, we will bring it to you. However, if you know of a developer or game we missed, or would like to tell us more about your game, please contact us!

WebKit Team Talks Safari 4

13 06 2008

The WebKit devs are at it again, announcing a flurry of information about a new JavaScript interpreter called SquirrelFish, and revealing a little over a week later that this would set the tone for development of WebKit 4 and Safari 4.

SquirrelFish is “a register-based, direct-threaded, high-level bytecode engine, with a sliding register window calling convention”, that promises vastly improved run times. The project is almost certainly the reason for the release of WebKit’s SunSpider JavaScript benchmarking tool late last year. So far, SquirrelFish promises speeds 1.6 times that of its predecessor.

Tuesday Apple provided a developer build of Safari 4 that will be in line with 10.6 Snow Leopards mission of improving speed and stability across the OS. In addition, the team has announced plans to allow for web applications to saved and executed offline, similar to Google’s Gears project and the third part application Fluid. In terms of expected features, the browser will likely improve upon its handling of CSS and DOM Level 3 standards, and possibly begin to incorporate features outlined in the draft for the new HTML spec.

Windows to Mac: Ordering My First Mac

11 06 2008

This is a second part in the Windows to Mac series from writer Dan Spiers. You can read the first part, entitled Windows to Mac: Prologue here.

Now that WWDC has taken off and with the announcement that the iPhone/iPod Touch software 2.0 won’t be released until early July, I no longer have any reason to hold out on buying my first Macintosh computer. Just yesterday I ordered a 15″ Macbook Pro (with the 2.6 gHz processor boost, as well as a 16GB iPod Touch and a bluetooth Mighty Mouse) and is slated to arrive at the end of this week, possibly early next week.

Order Confirmation

This is my farewell to Windows as a primary operating system. It has tortured served me for many years, but its age has shown. I’m tired of all the compatibility issues, constant breakdowns and blue screens. I want an OS that is stable and that is more user-friendly.

I’ve been waiting for four years to upgrade to a new computer, and this week isn’t ending fast enough… I’ve already started to have dreams about my new MBP.

Apple to replace .Mac service with MobileMe application suite

9 06 2008

During todays WWDC keynote, Phil Schiller revealed the successor to Apple’s .Mac service, titled MobileMe. Speculation has been rampant in the past weeks concerning Apple’s aging web service, and many reports of trademark filings and software references had been made the term ‘MobileMe’.

Login to the MobileMe webclient

The new service is a three part suite, that is targeted at the mobile OS X platforms for the iPhone and iPod touch, natively coded calender and email clients, and a multi platform capable web based suite that contains an email client, iDisk, and media sharing. Information can be added to the iPhone and automatically synced with your MobileMe account, allowing you to access contacts, pictures and email from anywhere.

The web based client is notable for its extremely slick Ajax based interface, that is highly reminiscent of a native OS X application. The web app allows drag and drop objects, object animations, instantaneous spotlight style searching and photo album managing. Photos are also available onto the Apple TV’s photo viewing application, and can be managed and viewed in iPhoto, selected from a new MobileMe menu. Updates for Mail, Address Book, iPhoto and the Apple TV are likely pending in order to integrate the new features into these applications.

iDisk capacity has been doubled from 10GB to 20GB, and is available for access from within the web based client, OS X’s finder, and is mountable as a network drive in Windows Vista.

MobileMe will be launched in early July with a 60 day free trial, after which there will be a $99 subscription. A guided tour of MobileMe is available at Apple’s website.

Apple Sends out Email to Current .Mac Customers regarding Mobile Me

9 06 2008

Apple .Mac Mobile Me Email Upgrade

Apple has just sent out an email to all existing .Mac customers regarding the MobileMe service introduced today at the WWDC 2008 Keynote. The email briefly describes changes with new service and new features. The email contents are as follows:

“Dear .Mac member:

Today Apple announced a new Internet service called MobileMe – taking the best of .Mac and adding a host of new features. As a current .Mac member, your account will be automatically upgraded to MobileMe in July. For a closer look, watch the MobileMe Guided Tour and read below for an overview of your new service.

Mac integration you know and love. With MobileMe, you’ll continue to enjoy features that take advantage of seamless integration with Mac OS X and iLife – Back to My Mac; access to your iDisk in the Finder; Mac-to-Mac syncing of Dock items, preferences, and more; iWeb site publishing; and photo and movie sharing directly from iPhoto ’08 and iMovie ’08.

New web applications for when you’re away from your Mac. MobileMe features a suite of web applications at that have the familiar look and feel of the applications on your Mac. Because these web applications stay in sync with your Mac and other devices, you’ll have the same information wherever you go. Here’s what you’ll find at

Mail, the anchor of the new suite, is even better with a refined interface.

Contacts has a new three-pane interface, contact groups, maps integration, search, and photo support.

Calendar is a brand-new web application that feels just like iCal, featuring multiple calendars, click-and-drag event creation, and more.

Gallery lets you manage your collection of shared photos and movies from anywhere. You can now upload photos, rearrange their order, and set sharing preferences, all from a browser.

iDisk now has the familiar look of the Mac OS X Finder. It features drag-and-drop filing and an easy new way to share large documents, by sending an email with a link for downloading the file.

Account lets you manage settings such as storage allocation.

To use the new web applications, make sure you have one of these browsers: Safari 3, Internet Explorer 7, or Firefox 2 or later.

Push email. Push contacts. Push calendar. In addition to Mac-to-Mac syncing, MobileMe now keeps your iPhone, your iPod touch, and even a PC in sync. MobileMe pushes new contacts, calendar items, and bookmarks to your Mac or PC, and over the air to your iPhone or iPod touch. For example, if you add a calendar event on the web, the change will automatically be pushed to your Mac and iPhone. New email will be pushed to your iPhone in seconds, eliminating the need to check for messages manually.

As a MobileMe subscriber, you can continue to use your address for email. You will also be issued a address with the same user name that you can use if you prefer. The choice is yours.

Double the online storage. To give you plenty of space for your email, photos, and other files, MobileMe doubles your storage from 10GB to 20GB for an individual subscription.

We’ll be sure to update you when the new service goes live. In the meantime, if you have any questions about the upcoming transition from .Mac to MobileMe, please visit the MobileMe FAQ.


The MobileMe Team”

More information coming soon. For now, you can check out Apple’s online guided tour here.

iPhone/iPod Touch Mobile Safari to Go Multi-Platform?

28 05 2008

Samsung has just announced their new L870 mobile handset, and several sites are reporting that it will be the first Samsung phone to include a Safari branded mobile browser. Out of left field, this information contradicts previous assumptions that mobile Safari would be an iPhone exclusive application. The L860 runs S60, a Samsung developed Symbian platform. The S60’s default browser already utilized a WebKit based browser, so it is unclear what advancements Safari will bring to the handset’s capabilities. It is worth noting that the S60 browser supports flash mobile.

Safari for Symbian will put Apple in direct competition with development teams including Microsoft’s Window’s mobile team, Nokia’s internet tablet division (which utilizes WebKit) and Opera Software’s Opera Mobile. Many mobile phone companies have utilized WebKit in their offerings due to its relative ease to implement compared with propriety rendering engines such as Microsoft’s Trident, and its easier implementation and less demanding license compared to Mozilla’s Gecko. However, Apple’s mobile Safari browser was universally lauded for its ability to render web pages accurately and quickly using limited resources and screen real-estate. So far, it remains unknown as to whether Samsung has negotiated a contract with Apple for exclusive use of the Safari trademark, or whether Safari is headed to other mobile platforms.


Update: Samsung now reports that the Safari reference was a misprint, referring to the S60 browser’s WebKit components.

Rumors circulate concerning new iPhone model

19 05 2008

As rumors of an iPhone model refresh build, Swiss newspaper Le Matin published a report claiming the new model would be coming to Swiss mobile network SwissCom and would support videoconferencing, mobile TV and GPS features. This report was shortly followed by a press conference from SwissCom confirming that they plan on bringing the iPhone to their network in the near future.

3G iPhone Picture
A rumored picture of the 3G iPhone

Among features expected by analysts in the new iPhone model include 3G mobile network support, improved storage capacity and third part application support. Mobile teleconferencing however, has not been seen as a likely move on Apple’s part, do to bandwidth and engineering restraints. However, it is worth mentioning that the language in several of Apple’s older patents for video conferencing do leave room for a mobile deployment. Also, a more recent patent for a integrated image sensor display seems to suggest that the technology would be well suited to a mobile device, “In addition, portable devices, such as portable digital assistants (PDAs) and cell phones, have very limited space for displays and would benefit if additional real estate were not used for a camera.”

Apple is expected to announce their new iPhone model at WWDC in June.

Zune juggernaut breaks into more DRM, NBC hot to trot

12 05 2008

This is a guest post from Adam Ford of

How do you make the Zune better? Well, naturally you add the ability for it to police your content for anything pirated. What’s so wrong with that? You shouldn’t be pirating music or videos, has the RIAA not taught you anything!?!

The story goes that NBC abandoned ship because of Apples tight leash on pricing and their unwillingness to police pirated material. Apparently Microsoft is okay with NBC selling their content for the same price as Apple would have just as long as Microsoft absorbs the difference in cost between that price and the price NBC wants to sell it for. Lets look at that for a moment. If Apple was going to sell an episode of Heroes for $1.99, and NBC wanted to sell that same episode for $6.99 then Microsoft is basically paying NBC $5.00 for each download. I really can’t imagine why Apple wouldn’t want to do that . . . seems like a GREAT business deal.

As if that decision wasn’t confusing enough, Microsoft is working on what I can only assume will be an update to it’s desktop software, to detect bootleg media and disallow it from being transfered to the device.

My question: How does it know? This is the age old question of the thermos. The thermos keeps hot stuff hot and cold stuff cold . . . but how does it know? When I go out and purchase a DVD and use good old handbrake to make a legitimate backup how is the software going to recognize this as being legitimate and allow me to put it on my Zune (DISCLAIMER: I don’t have a Zune, don’t want a Zune, and this whole thing seems like a giant disaster)?

As you can see the move to police your library raises all kinds of concerns. I don’t see how this approach really sells more of anything for Microsoft. It seems like they’re going to lose money on each download AND push the Zune in a less desirable direction (as if poop brown wasn’t enough). I think I’ll just keep my iPod.