From AppleInsider: Apple next Wednesday will unveil its latest bid to cater to consumers in the market for a true sub-notebook with the introduction of a smaller, 11.6-inch MacBook Air redesigned from the ground up, AppleInsider has been able to confirm from several independent sources.
The first models, which are certain to take the form of an 11.6-inch notebook, have been rolling off Apple’s Taiwanese manufacturing lines for at least a week now, placing their availability on or shortly after their introduction next Wednesday at the company’s “Back to the Mac” special event, according to a person with a proven track record of pinpoint accuracy.
Limera1n, the first jailbreak tool compatible with iOS 4.1 is now available for the Mac. When first released five days ago, it was Windows-only, and wouldn’t even work inside of a virtual machine. Now Mac owners can get in on the action. Limera1n works with all iOS devices.
Talk about COOL. Google has announced an easy-to-use application creator for the android. I just signed up for a download (here) and was sent a message that I’ll need to wait due to overwhelming response. Go figure. This (computer-based) application looks like a drop-down menu based creation system for making your own Android apps.
More information from the Google Labs site:
You can build just about any app you can imagine with App Inventor. Often people begin by building games like MoleMash or games that let you draw funny pictures on your friend’s faces. You can even make use of the phone’s sensors to move a ball through a maze based on tilting the phone.
But app building is not limited to simple games. You can also build apps that inform and educate. You can create a quiz app to help you and your classmates study for a test. With Android’s text-to-speech capabilities, you can even have the phone ask the questions aloud.
To use App Inventor, you do not need to be a developer. App Inventor requires NO programming knowledge. This is because instead of writing code, you visually design the way the app looks and use blocks to specify the app’s behavior.
The App Inventor team has created blocks for just about everything you can do with an Android phone, as well as blocks for doing “programming-like” stuff– blocks to store information, blocks for repeating actions, and blocks to perform actions under certain conditions. There are even blocks to talk to services like Twitter.
App Inventor is simple to use, but also very powerful. Apps you build can even store data created by users in a database, so you can create a make-a-quiz app in which the teachers can save questions in a quiz for their students to answer.
|Because App Inventor provides access to a GPS-location sensor, you can build apps that know where you are. You can build an app to help you remember where you parked your car, an app that shows the location of your friends or colleagues at a concert or conference, or your own custom tour app of your school, workplace, or a museum.|
|You can write apps that use the phone features of an Android phone. You can write an app that periodically texts “missing you” to your loved ones, or an app “No Text While Driving” that responds to all texts automatically with “sorry, I’m driving and will contact you later”. You can even have the app read the incoming texts aloud to you (though this might lure you into responding).|
|App Inventor provides a way for you to communicate with the web. If you know how to write web apps, you can use App Inventor to write Android apps that talk to your favorite web sites, such as Amazon and Twitter.|
In creating App Inventor for Android, we’re fortunate to be able to draw upon significant prior research in educational computing, and work done in Google on online development environments.
The blocks editor uses the Open Blocks Java library for creating visual blocks programming languages. Open Blocks is distributed by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Scheller Teacher Education Program and derives from thesis research by Ricarose Roque. We thank Eric Klopfer and Daniel Wendel of the Scheller Program for making Open Blocks available and for their help in working with it. Open Blocks visual programming is closely related to the Scratch programming language, a project of the MIT Media Laboratory’s Lifelong Kindergarten Group.
The compiler that translates the visual blocks language for implementation on Android uses the Kawa Language Framework and Kawa’s dialect of the Scheme programming language, developed by Per Bothner and distributed as part of the Gnu Operating System by the Free Software Foundation.
The educational perspective that motivates App Inventor holds that programming can be a vehicle for engaging powerful ideas through active learning. As such, it is part of an ongoing movement in computers and education that began with the work of Seymour Papert and the MIT Logo Group in the 1960s.
One subject that has been debated often recently is the iPad (and iPhone’s) lack of multitask capeability. With the release of Android OS Apple has some heat under it’s butt from the public to include this function with it’s operating system. Apple reports that multi-tasking programs will be possible with iPhone/iPad OS4.
As the owner of a Droid phone I am used to multi-tasking on my devices and I immediately saw a setback with the iPad OS. You mean I can’t run AIM in the background while I check email and stocks? This is definitely a limitation. But I wonder if Apple is trying to train our kinetic minds to pay attention to one thing at a time. With iBook I started to appreciate the lack of other functions because I didn’t want to be interrupted while reading. But I still want multi-task on the iPad and I continue to find new reasons to want it.
Another drawback I found is the lack of widgets (like the Android uses) and the ability to customize my homepage experience on the iPad. I know this is asking a lot.. and the iPad interface is amazing. But it would be very cool to customize what the iPad does when you turn it on. Likewise, it would be cool to be able to program a sequence of events on the iPad.. sort of like applescripts.
Typing on the iPad is pretty easy. The keyboard is modeled after the Sony-designed Apple keyboard and maintains the same word correction technology as the iPhone. Impressive. It has caught almost all of my sloppy typing errors. Saving the draft and editing is a breeze. The one thing i am missing on the keyboard is a set of cursor keys.. Which would make editing a bit easier than trying to get my finger to touch the right spot between letters to place a comma. There is some support for photographs, not much support for media library. Publishing is a simple affair which is accomplished by touching the “status” field and choosing “published”.. and then touching “save.” Not the best interface but it works for publishing some thoughts on-the-fly.