VideoLan launches Kickstarter to make VLC for Windows 8

VLC player is an incredibly powerful tool, usually one of the first things many people install on a new computer. With Windows 8 growing at its current rate, developers are beginning to realize that they might actually have to supportit.

The VideoLan project is comprised mostly of developers who contribute in their free time, and since the release of the VLC for Windows 8 demo it has become clear that more help is needed. In order to support Modern UI (aka Metro) in a timely fashion, the VideoLan team have taken to Kickstarter in order to fund the development of VLC for Windows 8.

“The current application has more than 15,000 forbidden calls. Fixing that will take a lot of time (or money).” – VideoLan CTO Jean-Baptiste Kempf

According to the VideoLan team, VLC media player is installed on over 100,000,000 machines across the world. The project supports Linux, Mac, Windows, iOS, Android, and more. Instead of having a program that forces the user to Desktop Mode to use VLC (as it’s currently designed), the goal is to release a native Windows 8 app. Unfortunately, in order to support Windows 8 and the Modern UI, a lot has to change. Since the team wants to get Windows 8 support up and running as fast as possible, they have turned to Kickstarter.

The 40,000 ($51,975) project will allow the VideoLan team to hire professional graphic designers and developers to create a functional UI that supports Windows 8′s design language. Initially the plan is to support x86 versions of Windows 8, but Windows RT support is in the pipeline as well.

The Kickstarter features multiple levels of participation, offering everything from small gifts with the VLC logo on it to banners on the VideoLan website announcing your contribution . Every contribution includes acknowledgment inside the Windows 8 app itself, separated by participation level.

VLC media player for Windows 8 would provide a usable alternative to Windows Media Center, which is something users will need to pay extra for if they haven’t purchased Windows 8 Pro. Media Center is needed in order to watch DVD or BluRay discs in a Windows 8 computer. While Microsoft is including Media Center for free to early adopters of Windows 8, the $10 add on will be a requirement to users who want to watch movies on their computers. With VLC for Windows 8, users will not need to ever purchase the add on, and instead enjoy the massive list of supported codecs from VideoLan.

Read more at Kickstarter

Surface Pro 64GB to start at $899, coming in January

Surface Pro

Microsoft’s Surface RT release has left many people, myself included, yearning for a more powerful machine with Windows 8 Pro on board. The Surface Pro has been teased, but never officially announced until now. In January, Microsoft will begin selling the 64GB Surface Pro for $899, with a 128GB version for $999. The Surface Pro is nearly identical in design to the already existing Surface RT, but what you find under the hood and running on that SSD is a lot more impressive.

Staring with a 1920×1080 resolution ClearType display with a Mini DisplayPort that can push 2560×1440 thanks to the onboard Intel HD Graphics 4000, the Surface Pro is a big bump in specs compared to the RT. Coupled with a Core i5 and 4GB of RAM, the Surface Pro more closely resembles last year’s Ultrabooks opposed to what you would typically expect to see in a tablet. This is all pretty close to what we expected to see in the Surface Pro, including the Surface pen, USB 3 port, and 2×2 MIMO WiFi antennae. The trade-off for this hardware is a slight increase in weight, and while Microsoft wasn’t willing to provide an exact figure, they noted that the tablet was still less than two pounds and 14mm thick.

Finally, the Surface Pro will come with Windows 8 Pro optimized for this hardware. This resolves many of the issues that users found with Surface RT, especially the inability to install apps from places other than the Microsoft Store. Surface Pro will function in Desktop Mode as a touch Ultrabook, and as a tablet when you choose to use Modern UI. It also means you could just take advantage of the great hardware and install a Start Menu replacement if you want to ignore Modern UI altogether.

Microsoft hasn’t announced what day in January the Surface Pro will release, or if pre-orders will be made available. The Surface RT launch featured pop-up stores in major cities, and there are now Surface Kiosks in every mall I have been to in the last month. Microsoft will undoubtedly leverage these same resources for the release of the Surface Pro, and with any luck the relatively poor opinion of the Surface RT will not stop early adopters from trying the new PC out.

Read more at the Microsoft Blog

‘Speculation is Heightening’ for Potential T-Mobile USA iPhone Announcement Next Week

Fortune reports on a new research note from Merrill Lynch analyst Scott Craig claiming that T-Mobile USA may be preparing to announce at its analysts day next week that it will begin offering the iPhone. The claim does not, however, appear to be based on any specific information, as Craig simply notes that “speculation is heightening” about such a move.

Now Merrill Lynch’s Scott Craig is out with a note reporting that “speculation is heightening” that Deutsche Telecom (DT) will announce a deal to bring the iPhone to its U.S. subsidiary at next week’s analysts day (12/6-7).

It makes sense. The carrier recently beefed up its iPhone-compatible high-speed HSPA+ network in 10 metropolitan areas, allowing some of the 1.5 million T-Mobile customers already using unlocked iPhones to enjoy something better than GSM download speeds.

As T-Mobile has worked to refarm its spectrum to move its fastest data services over to iPhone-compatible frequencies, the carrier has started a “Bring Your Own iPhone” program to help users move their unlocked iPhones to the carrier.

T-Mobile previously stated that the spectrum refarming would make the carrier ready for the iPhone by the end of 2012, and has acknowledged on a number of occasions that its lack of the iPhone has cost it customers and revenue.

But while it seems clear that T-Mobile would like to carry the iPhone and has been reconfiguring its network to be able to support it, there has been essentially no direct evidence or sources claiming that the device will be coming to the fourth-largest carrier in the United States.

Popular Calendar App Fantastical Makes the Jump to iPhone [iOS Blog]

Fantastical, the excellent calendar app for the Mac, has finally been ported to the iPhone. The app has been totally redesigned for the smaller screen, rolling out a new feature called the ‘DayTicker’

dayticker

The Verge and The Next Web both have extensive reviews of the new app. TNW’s Matt Panzarino had this to say:

I’m not what you’d call a productivity guru. I don’t use any interesting methods or cool combinations of software to do what I do. My philosophy is more along the lines of ‘start doing and stop when you’re dead’.

That’s one of the reasons that I love Fantastical for the Mac so much. It’s a small icon that sits in my menu bar and allows me to quickly dash off appointments and reminders in plain english. It’s blazing fast and it helps me avoid all of the nit picky fields and tick boxes that infest calendar apps, including Apple’s poor built-in option. No fussing, no scripts, no precariously balanced suite of productivity apps that eat up half my day just maintaining.

Today, Fantastical comes to the iPhone bearing that same spirit of no-nonsense calendar management, but with an additional intuitive layer of greatness.

The app features the same natural language parsing engine as it does on the Mac, with the addition of a feature called the DayTicker. The DayTicker is at the heart of the reason Fantastical for iPhone has replaced Calendar for me. It’s a ribbon-shaped display of your current day and the surrounding days that makes it incredibly fast to see what you’ve got coming up at a glance.

Fantastical for Mac is available as a free trial download from the developer’s site, or directly from the Mac App Store for the temporary sale price of $9.99. [Direct Link]

Fantastical for iPhone is available through the App Store for $1.99. [Direct Link]

Flexibits is also the company that we’ve hired to develop the MacRumors iOS app, currently in the works.

Dunder Mifflin will live beyond ‘The Office’ and paper products with the help of Staples

dunder mifflin

This year marked the start of the last season of The Office, but the Dunder Mifflin name will continue to live on in the real world. Last year, Quill, an online supply-retailer, entered a partnership with NBCUniversal to sell paper using the same name as the fictional company. Surprisingly, the deal proved profitable for the Staples subsidiary, with the company’s vice president of merchandising telling Bloomberg Businessweek that Dunder Mifflin-branded paper is its third-bestselling product. In fact, it is doing so well that Quill plans to expand the product line to include markers, sticky notes, notepads, and other office supplies.

Despite its previous success as one of the most popular shows on primetime television, ratings and…

AMD plans to sell 58-acre Austin campus and lease back space to raise cash during hard times

FLICKR AMD Lone Star Campus

It’s not surprising in the least that AMD is in trouble, but if any doubts remained, this week’s news that the chipmaker will sell its Austin, Texas campus and lease it back to raise cash should be a clear indicator. According to the Austin American-Statesman, AMD is in the planning stages of making a deal that would see its massive 58-acre Lone Star Campus — opened in 2008 — sold for an expected $150 to $200 million. The company would then sign a deal to lease back the space, which it built for an estimated $270 million, for 12 to 15 years, liquidizing some of its real estate assets and adding to its dwindling reserves of cash.

Such a deal was previously rumored by Sterne Agee analyst Vijay Rakesh, and AMD spokesman Drew Prairie t…

15 15.6 inch White Swirl Design Laptop Sleeve Bag Carrying Case with Hidden Handle and Adjustable Shoulder Strap Reviews

15 15.6 inch White Swirl Design Laptop Sleeve Bag Carrying Case with Hidden Handle and Adjustable Shoulder Strap

  • High quality printing on both side of the sleeve with hidden handle & Soft inner lining. Matching Skin Sticker available (Not Included)
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  • Note: zipper will not close fully when handle is in use, but it doesn’t affect functionality
  • Matching Skin Sticker available (Not Included)

These premium unique designed neoprene cases / sleeves are the ultimate for sophisticated on-the-go e-reader users. It protects and stores your Laptop / MacBook security. Unique image appears on both sides of the neoprene sleeve case with matching skin sticker (not included) They are made from durable neoprene that is naturally tear and damage resistant. The interior is also neoprene so it naturally offers a level of non-scratch padding. The reinforced dual zippers will keep your device secure a

Pianoforall – The Ingenious New Way to Learn Piano & Keyboard

Pianoforall – The Ingenious New Way to Learn Piano & Keyboard

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Apple iPad Chipping Away At PC Use for E-Commerce, Dominates Mobile Shopping

As the two biggest shopping days of the year come to a close, analysts are crunching the numbers on who bought what with which device. IBM recently reported that mobile devices captured 18 percent of the shopping market on Cyber Monday with the iPad in the lead with 90.5 percent of all tablet use. E-commerce solutions provider Monetate offered additional information to show that consumers are shifting from traditional desktops and laptops toward mobile devices for their shopping needs.

According to Monetate’s Ecommerce Quarterly report, tablet-based purchases have begun to make a dent in overall online buys, causing retailers to rethink and redesign how they offer products to consumers.

The reports show that desktop and laptop traffic dropped from 92.33 percent to 81.60 percent from the same time last year while mobile devices like smartphones and tablets more than doubled their market share. Tablets took 8.37 percent of the share of websites visited, up from 3.16 in 2011, while smartphones took 10.03 percent, which is an increase of 5.48 percent from 2011.

AppleInsider spoke with Monetate Chief Marketing Officer Kurt Heinemann, who said he expects the trend to continue. “I truly believe that the tablet is best used as an ‘in-house’ mobile device — it’s a replacement for the desktop or the laptop,” Heinemann said. “The mobile device is really that second screen experience; it’s really married to [a user's] media experience in a different way than the desktop.”

Monetate’s report shows that the iPad accounted for 88.94 percent of all website visits from tablets. Android-based devices only account for 6.34 percent and the Kindle Fire accounts for 4.71 percent.

Heinemann believes the iPad mini will be the game changer for ecommerce in the future. He told AppleInsider that the smaller-sized Apple tablet will begin to affect the market in early 2013 and might even surpass the full-sized iPad in online shopping.

Heinemann said that, because the impact will be so great, retailers will likely redesign their websites to the iPad mini’s dimensions.

“I think what you’re going to see is the iPad mini becoming almost a standard design format, because if you can design for the iPad mini, it’s going to work on the [full size] iPad, it’s going to work on the desktop,” he said. “So instead of taking the desktop and working it down to the iPad mini, think about taking your iPad mini experience and working it up to the desktop. It’s going to be that important.”

Apple’s iPad Still in the Lead but Competition Quickly Gaining Market Share

Since its first release in 2010, market share for the iPad has been dwindling. In its first year, the iPad owned 85 percent of the market share of tablets. By the end of 2011, sales of the iPad had already gone down to 58 percent of the tablet market. Predictions earlier this year were that Apple was on schedule to capture 60 percent of the market, but it looks like the numbers may not quite make that mark. According to ABI research, the third quarter of 2012 shows that the iPad managed to eek out 55 percent of the market share of tablets, still higher than everyone else but not as high as everyone had hoped.

“With the introduction of a smaller, lower-cost iPad mini, Apple has acknowledged Android’s beachhead of 7-inch-class tablets, though at the same time, it has failed to deliver a knock-out punch through innovation, pricing, and availability during the most critical selling period of the year,” says senior practice director at ABI Research Jeff Orr.

It is no surprise that the iPad is loosing its domination over the tablet market. While Apple’s tablet wasn’t the first of its kind to hit the market, it was the best. Once OEMs (original equipment manufacturers) saw the popularity of the iPad, they wanted to try it, too. It’s like reality shows or physics-based games. Once the formula for success is there, everyone wants to get in on the action. Amazon’s ereader, the Kindle, existed long before the iPad, but once the multi-use tablet became the new hotness, the online retail giant followed suit with its own version.

Now, we are seeing bookstores adding their hat to the ring. Barnes & Noble just announced the Nook HD, which is the bookseller’s response to the iPad mini. Even software manufacturers are entering the market. Microsoft just started selling the Windows 8 RT-based Surface tablet.

With all of these online retailers, booksellers, and software companies adding to the pot, it is no wonder that the iPad only owns 55 percent of the market share. Its not that another tablet is on schedule to overtake the iPad for the number one spot. It is that the market is being spread out with so many choices.