J.D. shows us how to navigate the Notifications Center on Apple’s Mountain Lion OS and Pedro has some stuff he needs to get off his chest. Let the ranting begin! In the news, Research in Motion becomes BlackBerry; Apple releases an updated iPad and a new version of its iOS; plus Twitter and Google release new transparency reports.
Good design is an integral part of a successful product, which may explain why Microsoft’s new Windows 8 operating system has been getting hammered since its official release last month. This week, the Web design guru Jakob Nielsen gave a rather scathing critique of the new software on his blog. (Still, PC makers like Lenovo are trying to make the best of Win8 with models that can contort themselves between tablet and laptop form.) Also adding to Microsoft’s woe: problems with new Windows Phone 8 handsets spontaneously rebooting, and leaked old videos showing its discontinued Kin phone spectacularly flunking usability tests.
But no matter how bad a week Microsoft is having, at least they can’t be accused of deleting December, which Google did for some Android 4.2 users. (They’re looking into it.) In addition to restoring the 12th month of the year, Google is said to be working on an open alterative to Apple’s AirPlay wireless streaming technology for beaming music and videos around the speakers and screens in your house.
Apple has had a week of ups and downs itself, with iCloud and some of its Web-based services being, well, down. But on the upside, the company finally snagged the AC/DC catalog for iTunes and is reportedly experimenting with an eBay storefront to sell refurbished Apple computers, iPods, iPads and other gear — at refurbished prices. While iOS gamers will still have Apple’s Game Center network, developers and players on other platforms should note that the OpenFeint gaming network is shutting down on December 14th.
Perhaps the long-awaited Nintento Wii U console that arrived last weekend (review roundup here) with ease some of the pain—once the device gets a good library of games that maximizes the potential of the GamePad controller. Oh well, at least you can watch Amazon Instant Video on the console while you’re waiting around.
Hardcore trolls will still hide behind their handles YouTube (owned by Google, you know) is encouraging members to link their user names on the video site to their real names on the Google+ service. The whole universal Google-wide identity thing is not going over well with everyone — most notably with the actor Wil Wheaton, who went on a rant last spring after being asked to sign up for Google+ in order to give the thumbs up to a video he liked on YouTube. (Quick tip: Got Firefox and want to filter out the more offensive spew in the comments area? Try the YouTube Comment Snob add-on for cleaner living.)
Need some beach reading? The Justice Department has released its lengthy response to public comments on the proposed final judgment on its e-book price-fixing lawsuit. Apple, which is heavily involved in the e-book case, is also battling Samsung Electronics over patent issues and would like $2.5 billion for its troubles. That rock’em, sock ‘em court battle is scheduled to begin next week. With all this litigious action, it’s a wonder Apple has time to make all the products people are whispering about online. (Yes, the amount of sheer speculation on Apple’s plans can cause problems, but even Apple CEO Tim Cook knows you can’t stop the chatter.)
Amazon is reportedly cranking out a fresh pile of tablet hardware as well (and so, for some reason, is RIM with a new BlackBerry Playbook). For the camera hardware fans, Canon finally hit that sweet spot between pocket point-and-shoot and bug burly digital SLR with its Canon EOS M mirrorless model. (Some folks have even tested it out already, even though it’s not due in stores until October.)
Hey, if you jumped in early with the Windows 8 Preview, the 7digital music service is right there with you and has a preview version of its Windows 8-ready app available to try out. The store has several AC/DC covers, so you can rock out just like the Iranian nuclear scientists, who have been supposedly hit by a new cyberattack that makes their computers blast “Thunderstuck” in the wee hours. (While accounts of this latest worm seem dubious and unverified, admit it: It does get you duck-walking, doesn’t it?)
And finally, we note the passing of Sally Ride, the first American woman in space. Thanks, Dr. Ride, for smashing through the glass ceiling and take the dreams of young geek girls right into orbit with you.