Archive for June, 2011

Nitro PDF Reader jumps to 2.0

June 24th, 2011

(Credit:
Nitro PDF, Inc.)

Nitro PDF Reader, recipient of a 2010 CNET Editor’s Choice award, has officially jumped to version 2.0. After spending 12 months in beta, Nitro PDF Reader 2.0 comes to us with a host of big-time features, several bug fixes, and other minor enhancements. Some of the most important additions to 2.0 include:

Web browser integration
Now you can preview PDF files from within Firefox, Chrome, and IE.

Nitro PDF Creator 2
As if the original built-in PDF creator wasn’t enough, now you can pump out PDFs at 4 times the speed and with a 50% reduction in file size

QuickSign
With this nifty new feature, you can say goodbye to the annoyingly tedious Print-Sign-Scan-Send workflow. QuickSign lets you import a scanned image of your signature and paste it onto “Sign Here” fields.

XFA Form Support
Again, another feature that lets us do away with printing physical copies. With XFA Form Support you can fill out paperwork digitally.

If you’re on Windows, and you’re still using Adobe Reader, you should strongly consider at least trying Nitro’s offering. It’s free, it has a built-in PDF creator, and now it comes with a host of features that many of its competitors can’t match. Nitro PDF Reader 2.0 is available now on Download.com, and you can get the full rundown of new features here.

Adobe Edge adds Flash-like animation to Web design

June 23rd, 2011
The Adobe Edge software lets programmers add pre-roll effects to Web page loads. In this case, different panels of a Web page fade in gradually, in stages.

The Adobe Edge software lets programmers add pre-roll effects to Web page loads. In this case, different panels of a Web page fade in gradually, in stages.

(Credit:
screenshot by Stephen Shankland/CNET)

In a new phase of its attempt to grow beyond Flash, Adobe Systems has begun showing off a design tool called Edge that lets designers animate Web page elements using standard Web technology.

The tool gives a graphical user interface to Web design to automate programming that otherwise would require more technical knowledge of HTML5, the next-generation version of Hypertext Markup Language now under development, and CSS, the Cascading Style Sheets standard for formatting and now some animated transitions.

With it, designers can drop images or Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) elements onto a canvas that’s connected to an animation timeline. Animations can be built by dragging those elements around or manually editing properties, and those animation actions can be copied, pasted, and scaled as needs change.

And using JavaScript actions can be linked to the structure of the Web page, so for example different sections of a Web page can be set to fade in at different times to give a “pre-roll” effect.

Adobe said Edge dovetails with other Web design tools, letting such effects be added after other designers or Web programmers create Web page layouts and elements.

“The underlying HTML and CSS code is untouched, which allows for designers working as animators in Edge to collaborate seamlessly with Web producers or Web designers working in HTML or CSS,” product manager Doug Winnie said in an Adobe Edge demo on YouTube.

Critics have knocked Adobe for being too wedded to its Flash Player technology, a browser plug-in widely used on personal computers that has only small usage on mobile devices. Apple has banned Flash from its popular iOS devices, and Apple Chief Executive Steve Jobs has advocated use of Web standards instead–at least in some cases.

But developers and designers don’t necessarily have the development tools needed to fully embrace the new era of dynamic Web sites and Web applications. That’s beginning to change, though, as Adobe beefs up its Dreamweaver product and adds new options for Flash effects.

Interestingly, Microsoft appears headed down a similar path. Despite having a Silverlight plug-in to tout, the next-gen Windows 8 is geared to run “tailored” apps written with Web technologies such as HTML, JavaScript, and CSS. Microsoft hasn’t said what its programming tool strategy for this coming era will be, but you can bet a company known for its high-grade tools today will have something for programmers to sink their teeth into.

The software, which includes a built-in WebKit browser engine for displaying the work under way, will be available on the Adobe Labs site.

In addition, Adobe is getting more involved with Web programmers. It announced Adobe HTML5 Camp on July 22.

Winnie will speak at the event about the Edge tool, said John Nack, who runs Adobe’s tablet work, in a blog post.

Adobe Edge lets designers drop graphic elements onto a canvas then, with an integrated timeline, drag them around to automate animations.

Adobe Edge lets designers drop graphic elements onto a canvas then, with an integrated timeline, drag them around to
automate animations.

(Credit:
screenshot by Stephen Shankland/CNET)

Originally posted at Deep Tech

Password-protect your folders with free DocLock (Windows)

June 23rd, 2011

With DocLock, you can quickly and securely password-protect any files and folders.

With DocLock, you can quickly and securely password-protect any files and folders.

(Credit:
Large Software)

If you share your PC with friends, family members, co-workers, the occasional IT guy, etc., there may be files and folders you want to keep private. You know, financial data, company secrets, certain sensitive video files–that kind of thing. (Hey, I’m not here to judge.)

Out of the box, Windows doesn’t give you the tools you need to password-protect files and folders. For that, you’ll need a third-party utility. Most of them cost anywhere from $30 to $50, but if you’re quick with your clicking finger, you can score one absolutely free.

Today only, Giveaway of the Day is giving away DocLock for Windows. It regularly sells for $49.95 (though it’s currently on sale for $29.95 from developer Large Software).

DocLock provides military-grade security for any files and folders you want to protect. You can assign your own password or let the software generate one for you. And locking/unlocking is as simple as dragging and dropping to the DocLock window or right-clicking the item and choosing DocLock from the context menu.

If you need to share a protected file/folder with someone or take it with you, DocLock gives you the option of making it portable–meaning it can be unlocked just by supplying the password (i.e. DocLock itself doesn’t need to be present).

Like all Giveaway of the Day deals, this one expires at midnight. To take advantage of it, you must download and install the program today. (And, yes, if you reformat your hard drive or migrate to another PC down the road, you’ll lose access to the software. It’s really intended to be a kind of extended trial.)

If you’re not wild about those terms, or you miss out on the deal, check out my BNET post, How to password-protect a folder. It offers two other cheap/free solutions.

Bonus deal: Also today only, you can score a TrendNet TPL-303E2K Powerline Adapter Kit for $49.99 shipped. It uses your existing electrical wires to establish a high-speed Ethernet connection between your router and a PC, game console, Blu-ray player, or whatever. These kits normally sell for at least $100.

Originally posted at The Cheapskate

Apple sends another cease-and-desist over ‘App Store’

June 23rd, 2011
Amahi needs to change its App Store name.

Amahi will rename its App Store.

(Credit:
Amahi)

Apple has reportedly sent a cease-and-desist letter to Amahi over its use of the term “App Store.”

Amahi offers home server software for those who want to store and share content across their personal network. The company also has an application marketplace where users can download apps to extend the use of its software.

A member of the Amahi team published a letter that he claimed was sent to the software developer by Apple lawyers, saying that Amahi’s use of “App Store” was in violation of the iPhone maker’s trademark.

“It has recently come to our attention that Amahi is using the title ‘App Store’ for a tab on its Web site,” Apple’s lawyers wrote in the letter. “Amahi’s use of the title ‘App Store’ improperly incorporates Apple’s App Store mark in its entirety, and as such, is likely to confuse consumers into thinking that Amahi is offering Apple’s App Store service to its customers, or is otherwise authorized by or associated with Apple, when of course, it is not.”

The letter requests Amahi discontinue its use of the term App Store and “agree to refrain from such uses in the future.”

For its part, Amahi said that it was in “shock” when it received the letter and that due to Apple’s “heavy handed move” and its belief that it’s “literally nothing next to Apple,” it won’t be able to fight the claim. Instead, the company is holding a contest for users to rename its application marketplace.

“We’d like it if you submit your suggestion for a term to use for Amahi’s store area, in every language on the surface of the earth, except of course using the term ‘app store,'” Amahi wrote on its blog.

Amahi’s troubles with Apple are the latest chapter in the ongoing saga of whether or not Apple can stake claim to the App Store name.

In January, Microsoft filed a motion with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (U.S. PTO), saying that “App Store” is too generic for any company to hold a trademark. Apple responded in February, saying that App Store is no more generic than Microsoft’s own Windows trademark.

“Microsoft, missing the forest for the trees, does not base its motion on a comprehensive evaluation of how the relevant public understands the term App Store as a whole,” Apple said in its own filing with the U.S. PTO.

But it wasn’t only Microsoft that Apple took issue with. In March, the company sued Amazon over the online retailer’s use of “App Store.” In a countersuit, Amazon argued that Apple’s use of the term “App Store” was too generic, and called on the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California to throw the case out.

Though that battle is still being waged, just yesterday U.S. District Judge Phyllis Hamilton said that she will “probably” dismiss Apple’s claims against Amazon, telling the company that she was “troubled by the showing that you’ve made so far.”

Apple’s battles haven’t only been with big companies as of late. Also in March, Apple sent a cease-and-desist letter to adult applications marketplace MiKandi. That company, which serves up x-rated applications, was forced to change its offering’s name from “app store” to “app market.”

Originally posted at The Digital Home

Hulu Plus app launches for Android

June 23rd, 2011

Hulu Plus has made its long-awaited debut on Android.

The new Hulu Plus app for Android.

The new Hulu Plus app for Android.

(Credit:
Hulu)

Launching in Google’s Android Market yesterday, the new Hulu Plus app allows Android users who subscribe to the $7.99-per-month service to stream TV shows and movies directly to their mobile devices.

For now, the app supports just six Android phones–the Nexus One, Nexus S, HTC Inspire 4G, Motorola Droid II, Motorola Droid X, and the Motorola Atrix. But Hulu is promising support for more Android phones as the year progresses.

New subscribers to Hulu Plus can try the service free for one month before deciding whether to kick in the monthly fee to continue using it.

The Hulu Plus Android app now joins its counterpart for the iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch.

Beyond Android and iOS, though, Hulu Plus is still unavailable for other mobile device platforms. However, Research In Motion has been talking to Hulu about making the paid video service available on the BlackBerry PlayBook tablet, according to AllThingsD and other sources.

Hulu Plus is available on much bigger and less mobile devices, including Microsoft’s Xbox 360, TiVo, and Sony’s PlayStation 3. Hulu Plus and the free Hulu service are both accessible on PCs through the regular Hulu Web site.

Hulu has been in the news lately over reports that the company has put itself up for sale and has already fielded an offer from a prospective buyer.

Originally posted at Android Atlas

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