Friday, October 12, 2012
The Android application for the popular cloud storage service Dropbox has now been updated. In version 2.2 of the application, users can find a new Photos tab, where they can view all their photos and videos. The uploads option have been moved to the menu in the file browser in the updated version of the app. A host of ‘under-the-hood bug fixes and tune-ups’ have also been introduced.
In version 2.1 of the updated app, users can find the new upload notifications. Users can automatically upload photos and videos in the background using Wi-Fi or data plans. The updated application brings users up to 3GB of free space for uploading photos automatically (in 500MB increments). Files of any size can be uploaded.
Photos tab contains all the uploaded photos and videos
Like with every cloud storage service, the Dropbox application for Android users allows them to carry their photos, documents, and videos anywhere. On installing it on your computer, any file saved to Dropbox will automatically be saved to your Android device, and the Dropbox website as well. It is also possible to share the saved files.
Yesterday, Dropbox revamped its mobile site with a new image gallery view. The updated site lets you view your images in a gallery, and looks somewhat similar to changes made earlier this year to the Dropbox app on Android and iOS, as well as the desktop site.
The update to the mobile Dropbox website lets you view your images in a gallery-styled fashion from any mobile device. The new view allows you to scroll through your photos, which are ordered by the date they were uploaded. You can also tap on a photo to view it full-sized and flip through photos. To test it out for yourself, just open www.dropbox.com on your mobile phone’s browser, tap on the Dropbox icon at the top, and then tap the Photos button to view your photos in the Camera Uploads folder in gallery format.
Dropbox has been making improvements like these for a long time and this looks like part of its effort to let users have a consistent experience irrespective of the platform they use to access the service. This change to the Dropbox website should make the service accessible to people with Windows Phone devices, as Dropbox still has to release a native app for this platform.
The changes to the Android and iOS Dropbox apps earlier this year let you bring your photos and videos to one place, in addition to letting you have the option of automatically uploading photos to Dropbox using Wi-Fi or through wireless data. The photos are all uploaded at full size and quality and are saved to a private folder on your Dropbox account called Camera Uploads.
Dropbox has also updated its iOS app with options that let you share your content on Facebook and Twitter. Moreover, the company recently announced Facebook Groups integration which lets you share content from your Dropbox account from right inside Facebook Groups.
Posted by gkJr. at 5:31 PM
John Paczkowski of All Things D reported on Friday that Apple is "likely" to hold the event on Oct. 23. That's two days before the company is set to report its September quarter earnings, and three days before Microsoft will launch its Surface tablet.
The event is expected to be held at Apple's Town Hall Auditorium on its Cupertino, Calif., headquarters. The venue is smaller than the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts where other product unveilings, like last months' iPhone 5 have occurred, but the on-campus site has been home to the unveilings of the iPhone 4S, redesigned MacBook Air, and OS X Lion.
Paczkowski noted of Apple going with a smaller venue that the company "already held its big fall event." In addition to revealing the iPhone 5 last month, Apple also unveiled its new iPod lineup.
Source: Martin Hajek
"The company pulled out all the stops for that one, holding it at San Francisco's Yerba Buena Center for the Arts and recruiting Foo Fighters to close the show," he wrote. "It's hard to imagine it mounting a second production of that caliber in such a short time. More likely that iPad mini's debut will be an intimate affair held closer to home."
The so-called "iPad mini" is expected to be a tablet with a 7.85-inch display that will have a lower pixel density than the high-resolution Retina display on the third-generation iPad. The device is also expected to be thinner and to feature Apple's new Lightning connector that debuted on the iPhone 5.
Posted by gkJr. at 5:24 PM
Google has released v3.9.16 of the Play Store application for Android and with it come some useful new features. One of the new features is the ability to delete apps from your ‘All’ apps list within ‘My Apps’. Anyone who has been using Android for a while will know that this list is cluttered with useless apps that you only downloaded once and then deleted but are now permanently part of that list. Well, not anymore.
Posted by gkJr. at 11:31 AM
Thursday, October 11, 2012
A pair of patent applications published by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office on Thursday reveal Apple is investigating the use of heuristics in its mobile devices to deliver a more realistic digital representation of handwriting, as well as selective touch input that ignores extraneous touch events.
First filed for in 2011, Apple's "Handwriting capture techniques" describes a set of rules used to render a digital replica of a person's handwriting, or more specifically, how a touch-capable device translates user input into a representation visually similar to handwriting.
From the patent application's abstract:
A set of rules is used by a processor of a device to render a digital image of handwriting (e.g., handwritten signature) by connecting data points captured on a touch sensitive surface of the device with line segments or curves.
The patent looks to solve the problem that arises from collecting and processing a multitude of input data, in this case touch event points, which can be difficult if a stylus or finger is quickly moved across a touch sensitive surface. Tailored for "devices capable of capturing only a few signature data points per second," the invention allows for a more natural representation of a signature or handwritten line when the number of given data points would otherwise be inadequate.
For example, many parcel delivery companies employ a portable signature capture device to facilitate quick and secure service. Usually, the device lacks the processing power to capture enough data points to display a smooth and continuous representation of a customer's handwritten signature.
To overcome this apparent inadequacy found in some devices, Apple's patent leverages a predetermined set of rules to connect the space between two input points by a either a line segment or curve. If the device determines that a curve is needed, a "smoothness adjustment factor" is applied to reduce or maintain smoothing depending on the length between said input points.
Illustration of data points.
Key to the system's functionality is the calculation of velocity and direction, both of which are used in tandem to determine whether a straight line or curve is rendered between two points.
It is important to note that Apple's patent can be implemented for both stylus and finger input, meaning the invention is suitable for devices like the iPad.
There are a number of apps currently on the App Store that take advantage of the iDevice's touch input system to reproduce handwriting, such as Square's credit card system and various drawing apps.
The second touch-related application published on Thursday was Apple's "Region Activation for Touch Sensitive Surface," which describes a system in which extraneous touch events recognized outside of so-called "active regions" are ignored.
Apple's invention fits perfectly with the handwriting recognition patent described above. As described in the filing's background, when a device is capturing handwritten notes or signatures, a user is apt to rest their palm on the touch sensitive surface for support. This can cause errant touch events, triggering unwanted results.
Example of active region.
From the filing's background:
To avoid such inadvertent touch input, the user can elevate their hand above the touch surface when writing. This workaround can be awkward and tiring to the user.
The application suggests that by defining "active regions," inadvertent touch events can be avoided. A region, or regions, can be activated by the user, and any touch event starting in that area is logged and displayed on screen. Touch events not started within the active region or "not associated with the beginning touch event" are ignored.
A number of implementations are described, one of which contains a visual element like the lines of a virtual notebook that corresponds to the underlying active region. In this example, an indicator denotes where writing input can be entered. Once initiated, the writing gesture will continue to be logged until the user interrupts the process by lifting their finger or stylus from the touch sensitive screen. When writing is complete, the displayed input can be saved on the device for later use.
Another example notes that haptic feedback can be used in lieu of visual indicators.
Both of Thursday's patent applications credit Lyndley Crumly as inventor, with David Clark in the handwriting recognition invention, and were first filed in April 2011.
Posted by gkJr. at 1:39 PM
Apple's patent application, titled "Devices and methods for providing access to internal component," offers a method to conceal components that are needed only temporarily or go unused, examples of which include a biometric sensor, solar panel or light sensor.
Most noteworthy are so-called "visually-dependent components" which "traditionally required external exposure to light or that emit light." Examples are biometrics, or fingerprint readers, flashes, cameras and light sensors, among others.
Hidden camera and fingerprint sensors.
It seems that the invention is skewed toward a device's aesthetic appearance, as noted in the patent's background:
Furthermore, under the current techniques, adding new components may harm the aesthetic appeal of the device by cluttering the electronic device enclosure, even though these additional components may be seldom or never used by many users. An electronic device that incorporates multiple components may lose its aesthetic appeal when covered by visible components, particularly as compared to a seamless electronic device where very few, if any, components of the electronic device are visible.
While devices come in ever smaller packages, and in the case of the iPhone with few visible components besides the screen, the task of incorporating additional hardware features without sacrificing design has become increasingly difficult.
What Apple proposes is a system to conceal integral parts that may need to sit near the device's surface for easy access. This system can temporarily or permanently hide a component depending on how often the user chooses to activate its corresponding feature, such as a fingerprint reader. The invention can be further implemented to cover camera assemblies or other commonly-used components to make a device appear monolithic in construction.
Back of iPhone with hidden camera array and flash.
Current devices made by various electronics manufacturers employ similar techniques, for example a smartphone's dedicated capacitive buttons can be "lit up" by LED backlighting when not in use. This methodology doesn't truly hide a component, however, but instead selectively reveals a specific activated area of a touch sensitive surface that is technically never obscured from view.
Apple's solution calls for a polymer dispersed liquid crystal (PDLC) window, or similar technology, "that can change between opaque and transparent configurations," allowing components to seemingly "appear as from out of nowhere."
Powering the window would be the window controller, which determines when to transition the unit from opaque to transparent, or when to "open and close" the window. To operate the window, an electrode can be used to change the orientation of liquid crystal molecules in the PDLC layer, akin to how LCD display technology works.
The controller decides when to "open the window" based on a number of inputs which can range from a photo application starting up to reveal a camera, or an unlock screen that would uncover a fingerprint reader.
Illustration of window controller operation.
Perhaps most interesting is the patent's suggestion to dispose the window behind a transparent OLED display, thereby allowing components to be situated not merely in a device's bezels or backplate, but under the screen itself.
Camera for facial recognition security behind translucent OLED and PDLC window.
While the invention is enticing, it is unclear if and when Apple plans to integrate such a solution into a consumer product. The move to an aluminum uni-body shell with the iPhone 5 limits the utility of the patent moving forward, at least when compared to the previous generation handset's "glass sandwich" design, a prime candidate for the "hidden window" tech.
Apple filed the patent application in April 2011, with Felix Jose Alvarez Rivera, Richard Hung Minh Dinh and Scott A Myers credited as its inventors.
Posted by gkJr. at 1:37 PM
Posted by gkJr. at 1:19 PM