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I’ve been thinking about the problems I have with iOS’ Home screen concept for years now, but I never fully grasped what was, exactly, that with time made using the Home screen — and thus the whole system of Springboard pages — clunky and annoying. Until it hit me earlier today, and suddenly everything started to make sense.
The iOS Home screen is conceptually broken. Not “broken” as in unusable, unstable or technically flawed. From an engineering standpoint, the iOS Home  screen works. The concept of the Home screen we interact with today is broken bec
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ause the Home screen wants to be a real, physical, tangible surface while providing access to the gates of the intangible: apps. Apps are data, information, connectivity, presentation, media. Digital content isn’t tangible in the sense that it exists in a physical space, unless you count the atoms and the electrons and the bits that make using an app possible. But that’s a long stretch. The iOS Home screen is based on the concept that app icons are objects on top of it;  this has created a series of issues over the years.
Throughout the release history of iOS, Apple had to compromise and, I believe, implement functionalities the original Home screen wasn’t meant to support. First users wanted third-party apps, Apple waited, but eventually allowed developers to create software to install on an iPhone or iPod touch. Apps are the most important addition to the operating system to date, and they kickstarted the App Store revolution we’re witnessing. In allowing third-party developers to create apps, however, Apple essentially lost control over the display of objects on the Home screen — Apple may be able to check upon the inner workings of an app, but they can’t ban apps based on lack of taste in choosing an icon. And with that, developers were free to choose Home screen icons that don’t necessarily resemble real-life objects, thus breaking the metaphor of manipulating “badges on a table”, as I like to think of it. Have you noticed how almost every built-in, Apple-made iOS app has an icon that resembles a real-life object? The only exception? The App Store and iTunes icons. Which are marketplaces for digital content.
Apple states it clearly in the iOS Human Interface Guidelines:
When virtual objects and actions in an application are metaphors for objects and actions in the real world, users quickly grasp how to use the app. The classic example of a software metaphor is the folder: People put things in folders in the real world, so they immediately understand the idea of putting files into folders on a computer.
Think of the objects and scenes you design as opportunities to communicate with users and to express the essence of your app. Don’t feel that you must strive for scrupulous accuracy. Often, an amplified or enhanced portrayal of something can seem more real, and convey more meaning, than a faithful likeness.
Portray real substances accurately. Icons that represent real objects should also look as though they are made of real materials and have real mass. Realistic icons accurately replicate the characteristics of substances such as fabric, glass, paper, and metal, and convey an object’s weight and feel.
Later, users wanted multitasking and folders. Unsurprisingly, Apple gave them implementations of these features that look like objects, in this case objects with linen. Here’s where the situation gets more complex: folders and the multitasking tray, unlike app icons, actively interact with the Home screen, they don’t just sit on top of it. The way Apple designed them, the multitasking tray resides as linen below the Home screen, and folders are tiny containers with a linen background that expands atop of the Home screen. You can see how the entire concept of Home screen as a surface starts crackling under the design weight of  these features: is the Home screen a surface that has another layer underneath? Another one above as well? What do you mean I have music controls in the multitasking tray, too?
Most recently, iOS users began asking more vigorously for a better notification system, a unified reading environment for magazines, and widgets. Apple gave them Notification Center and Newsstand, but didn’t announce anything widget-related, at least for the Home screen. The Home screen, with iOS 5, got two new additions: a new layer, Notification Center, and a new default icon, Newsstand, which isn’t really an icon but it’s a folder with a different background and shelves.
As I said, I believe choosing the right approach to delivering new functionalities and keeping the original Home screen concept got trickier for Apple over the years. What started as a black background with a few default apps turned into a customizable area of hundreds of app icons with folders and multiple pages with a series of additional layers managed by the overly abused linen texture. But the seed of the broken concept can be seen way back into iPhone OS history: think about Spotlight and Springboard page indicators. What are they — how do they fit into the metaphor of a physical surface with objects on top of it? Surfaces don’t have search boxes and indicators. Notebooks have pages, but you have to flip them and turn them and touch them. Websites have search boxes, but they’re bits and lines of code.
If you follow my theory, you can understand how things start making sense from this perspective. You can’t move multiple app icons at once not because of some technical limitation, but because, I believe, in the original Home screen vision inspired by physics apps were meant as a single entity to manipulate, one at a time. On a table, you can’t “select” multiple buttons and pretend they’re all going to move as you touch only one. That doesn’t make any sense in real life. I could expand this concept to the entire skeuomorphism Vs. interface design, but I’ll leave that for another time. My concern right now is the Home screen, the first thing you see when you unlock a device, when you close an app, the place where you manage your apps, your content. There’s a lot of weirdness and inconsistencies going on in some Apple apps and interfaces, but the Home screen is the prime example of a user interface meant for 2007 which was subsequently patched and refined and patched again to accomodate new functionalities introduced in iOS (the same happened with the Home button). You could argue that some proposed features, such as widgets, haven’t been implemented yet because of technical constraints. It’s fair argument, and I’ll take it. Yet I think that, even if complex from an implementation standpoint, it’s the concept itself that makes widgets difficult with the current Home screen.
The problem Apple needs to overcome is that the Home screen tries to be a real object while providing access to the gates of the digital world. To reinvent it, Apple needs to tear apart the whole concept and rebuild it from the ground up.

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Nuance Communications Inc. are a company specialising in voice recognition software. Many of you may be familiar with their Dragon line of computer software, superb pieces of kit that write your spoken words on-screen in real time.
Their new program for Android, Dragon Go, isn’t exactly the same sort of software. It’s a searching and browsing application that uses your voice to interpret your queries. So is this application as impressive as Nuance’s desktop product? Let’s find out.

Interface
When you load Dragon Go you’ll get a very simple win
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dow prompting you for a search string or instruction. Some examples scroll across, both above and below the entry field. If you want to speak a search string press the red record button; you can type the string if you prefer.
The interface is simple and slick: once you enter a search query or instruction Dragon Go attempts to process it, and then links you to the search pane it finds most appropriate. For example saying “Wikipedia Chocolate Cake” should take you to the Wikipedia pane and bring up the chocolate cake entry.
This is where your searches with Dragon Go begin, examples are provided above and below the entry field.
I really enjoy the technique for switching between panes with the same search term. Perhaps you said something ambiguous like ‘Gears of War 3′. Since you didn’t say a word like ‘Buy’ or ‘Images of’, Dragon Go defaults to just plain googling. To switch to Google Images, you grab the Google logo at the top of the screen and smoothly drag it over as far as you like to select one of the many other panes. You browse the content vertically, and change it horizontally. I like that a lot.
Dragon Go allows the following default operations with the words you provide:

Google – Use Dragon Go’s built-in browser to travel around the web. View webpages like you would in any other browser, and enter full-screen mode if you want to remove the search bar from view.
Google Images – Same as the above, but Google Images is the focus of the search.
Music – This is the first impressive feature. The application delves into your music collection and fishes out artists and songs with strings that match your search criteria. Selecting one opens it in your music player.

Dragon Go searches your SD Card for matching artists; tapping an album will begin playback.

Map – Your search string is Googled and the matches are placed around your current location. Very useful if you want to find a nearby restaurant or shop.
YouTube – The search string is popped into an embedded mobile web version of YouTube. Not too great, to be honest – I would have preferred them to forward the string to my YouTube application.
Twitter – Your string is put through Twitter’s ‘Real-time search’ system and any public tweets with the matching keyword are displayed for you. If you want to search a hashtag you would have to type it in, which makes Dragon Go no better than a real Twitter application.
Wikipedia – Probably the most useful of the lot, your key term is matched to Wikipedia articles. So if you ever want to find out about something on the move, you are covered.

An example of Bakewell Tart being put through the Wikipedia and Google Images tabs
Other services, such as Netflix and Pandora, can also be searched, as long as the app is installed. Pressing the Menu button and selecting ‘What’s Supported?’ shows you the current extent of Dragon Go’s functionality. For a list of all the things you could ever say, regardless of what is installed or not, press Menu and then ‘What can I say?’.
Lack of a Widget
This is a pretty big flaw for an application who’s primary function is convenience and speed. Without a Widget on your homescreen you have to tap the icon and wait for the application to load. Having a small ‘Tap To Speak’ icon would make Dragon Go so much more attractive to use. Hopefully Nuance will put one in with an update.
Talking to Your Phone..?
What I find a bit odd is that companies continue to produce voice recognition and dictation software, even though 95% of us only use it when we are alone. I don’t know about you but if I were to suddenly hold my phone to my face and say ‘Wikipedia Nicosia’ I would attract a few odd looks, so I refrain from it. A clearly visible Bluetooth headset calms people down when you are talking to yourself, but is that same effect carried over to enunciating a few words out of nowhere.
Furthermore speech recognition technology still makes lots of mistakes, especially in the smartphone world. Even if it works well in your living room I doubt it would work as well as you walk down the street or in a coffee shop.
Ironically, the time we spend loading speech applications and enunciating words to them could have been used to type what we wanted in the first place. We make far fewer mistakes through typing. Even if an application understands me correctly nine times out of ten, I still don’t hold the search button to activate Google Voice or Jeannie, and then tell my phone to call someone. It is always quicker to open my contacts and select the person I want to call by scrolling, typing, and tapping.
Her Majesty Wouldn’t Approve
When I first tried Dragon Go I was left shouting at it for a few minutes before I realised that it is designed for American accents. I have a very British-British accent, and so saying ‘Call Home’ kept resulting in Dragon Go googling ‘Cool Home’. Only by putting on an American accent could I actually call my house. Which reflects well on my acting skills, but badly on Dragon’s speech detection.
Conclusion
Altogether, I have mixed feelings about Dragon Go. Though it’s obviously a smart and attractive application, it doesn’t have much to offer besides its voice recognition. Everything else is just pretty layouts and embedded windows. The lack of a widget (meaning I have to run the application each time) doesn’t impress me either. I’m going to attach a 7/10 rating to Dragon Go. It works as advertised, but has great potential and a lot more should be done with it.


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AssistantExtensions is a new jailbreak tweak that pushes Siri’s limits. It brings additional commands to Siri on iPhone 4S, such as Tweeting, launching apps, search YouTube, toggle switch and more, that are not available by default.

AssistantExtensions, gives Siri much more power than what it has now. It’s a framework which is based on MobileSubstrate and can control a lot of things on your iPhone 4S and provide platform for other developers to come up with their own extensions to bring more funtinalities to Siri.
A plug-in architecture allowing developers to extend
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Siri functionality (commands and GUI snippets). Several commands and snippets are built-in, including a chat bot for talking to Siri about anything you like.
AssistantExtensions includes a few built-in extensions including:
System commands: tweet ‘text_of_the_tweet’, open ‘application_name’ or launch ‘app_name’, brightness to ‘XX %’, restart springboard, generate a random number, say ‘what_to_say>’, should I ‘do something?’.
Toggles: turn on ‘toggle_name’, list toggles or list switches to get a list of toggles and their states.
Chat Bot: You can chat with Siri. To start, just say “Let’s chat” and wait a moment. Loading times will be improved a lot in future releases.
YouTube – searches YouTube and shows results with thumbnails, example: “Search Lady Gaga on YouTube”
How to Install AssistantExtensions
Your iPhone 4S or any Siri capable device must be jailbroken: To jailbreak iPhone 4S follow any of these guides:

How to: jailbreak iPhone 4S iOS 5.0.1 with Absinthe [Mac]
How to: jailbreak iPhone 4S 5.0.1 with Absinthe [Windows]
How to: jailbreak 5.0.1 iPhone 4S with Corona Injector CLI [Windows]


From your jailbroken iPhone 4S, Open Cydia;
Go to Search tab at bottom and Search for AssistantExtensions (available under theBigBoss Repo);
Tap on AssistantExtensions, then tap on Install and then Confirm.



Also checkout:

SiriToggles – Launch Apps, Toggle Settings, Control Brightness via Siri on iPhone 4S
Sireet Cydia Tweak – Tweet Using Siri On iPhone 4S [Jalbreak]
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Last May, I spent a bit of time pontificating on whether or not Steam belongs on a mobile platform. Regardless of my opinions on the subject (too lazy to read the article? The short version is “maybe, but they need to be careful”), Valve has just taken its first big step into the world of smartphones with the release of Steam Mobile for both iPhone and Android.

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The increasing power and proliferation of smartphones has given us an increasing amount of ways of connecting with each other. However, all of these new communication venues have also given us an increasing amount of contact information to keep track of. Android users already know how Xobni’s app Smartr Contacts can help simplify that process and now iPhone owners can too.
Smartr Contacts pulls data from various sources in order to create a master contacts list. Whether someone is a Facebook friend or a LinkedIn connection they will be accounted for. Smartr Contacts then puts
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that person’s email, phone number, picture and whatever else it can intelligently detect in one handy place. The app keeps track of recent communications one has had with their contacts and will even rank contacts in order of importance. Think of it as a way of knowing who one’s real friends are.
While the app works with other existing social networks like Twitter, in order to use Smartr Contacts one must sign up for a Xobni account. Smartr Contacts is available for free on the App Store.

Smartr Contacts for iPhoneiPhone App - Designed for the iPhone, compatible with the iPad
Buy Now: FREEReleased: 2012-01-13 :: Category: Productivity

Apps mentioned in this post: Smartr Contacts for iPhone

About: Smartr Contacts is a Magic Address Book is a post from 148Apps
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Last November I had the pleasure of first reviewing the Beauty and the Beast: Storybook Deluxe. I praised it for being the kind of high-quality app that you would expect from Disney and for giving us a way to celebrate the enchanting and engaging story of how Beauty finds true love in the Beast.
The recent update to this wonderful app has added a new dimension with animations direct from the film and a series of special effects that will amaze you.

The same great features exist, with activities, coloring pages and puzzles that serve to supplement the storyline and give your chi
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ld the chance to learn a few things while spending time with their favorite Disney characters.
I think I still love the ability to sing along to songs from the movie best, because my daughter just loves music. But the eleven added animations really served to further supplement the story in a way that will bring the book to life almost like a mini-version of the film itself –only with this version, your child can participate!

What I liked: Animations from the film will be familiar for many children which will help them to relate to the story and increase their interest and investment in the app itself.
What I didn’t like: For those of us who have already been enjoying this app on a regular basis, it would be nice to have a quick-link to the new features so we can share them more directly with our child.
To buy or not to buy: If you weren’t persuaded to grab this app before there are even fewer reasons to resist now. In addition to the quality app that they began with, this update demonstrates their commitment to continued quality and further enhancements which should give you confidence in their products.

App Name: Beauty and the Beast: Storybook Deluxe
Version Reviewed: 1.3
Category: Books
Developer: Disney Publishing Worldwide Applications
Price: $4.99
Score:



Related Posts


Beauty and the Beast: Storybook Deluxe – iPad App Review

iStoryTime Launches Puss In Boots Movie Storybook – iPad App Review

Discover Beauty and Art in Auryn – Van Gogh and the Sunflowers – iPad App Review

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Jailbreaking Is Not A Crime ? The Electronic Frontier Foundation has started a petition at jailbreakingisnotacrime.org to ensure jailbreaking is kept legal.
Back in July of 2010 the Copyright Office added an exemption to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) which made jailbreaking your smartphone legal. The exemption is set to expire after three years and the EFF is trying to make sure that doesn’t happen.

The petition at jailbreakingisnotacrime.org will let you add your support to a letter written by Bunnie Huang, author of Hacking the Xbox. The EFF would also lik
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e those who can write their own letter to submit their defense of jailbreaking to the Copyright Office. You can find more information about that here.
At the very least we would urge you to add your signature to the petition. There’s only 14 days left to sign!
Support Jailbreaking is Not A Crime on FaceBook by Like and Comment on Wall:

[VIA]
Please Leave your Comment Here to Support Jailbreak legality
Don't Forget to See:EFF Says – Jailbreaking Should Be Legal For All DevicesJailbreak about die by Federal Government ?!US Courts : Jailbreaking and Unlocking are LegalGeohot has set up a new blog to fight Sony !Apple Applied for a Patent to Disable Jailbroken Devices
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Today the world finally received the iPhone 4S untethered jailbreak thanks to @pod2g and the ‘Dream Team’. GreenPois0n Absinthe was released first by the Chronic Dev Team. Want to jailbreak your iPhone 4S? Here’s a quick tutorial on how to jailbreak it with GreenPois0n Absinthe. Absinthe iPhone 4S Jailbreak Prep: - Ensure you are on iOS...How to Jailbreak iPhone 4S with Absinthe [Tutorial] is a post from: iPhone in Canada Blog - Canada's #1 iPhone Resource


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Welcome back Geohot, here is the one of the best news in our jailbreak history you are going to hear it, few monthes age the greatest hacker George Hotz worked at Facebook, today Geohot is leaving Facebook and Now a Full-Time Hacker.




Ok guys for those who don't know George Hotz:


he is the first guy who make a jailbreak for the iPhone and PlayStation too, he made two popular jailbreak tools which are BlackRa1n and Limera1n, also in 2011 Geohot get into a war between him and Sony after he hacked Sony playstations and dropped Sony official
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site.

We will keep you updated For more news a bout George Hotz and his new Jailbreak tools Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Google+
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The most astonishing feature in the iPhone 4S, believe it or not, has been the digital voice assistant Siri. Siri has been receiving new extensions since to iOS and has set apart the iPhone 4S from its competitors. The latest untethered jailbreak for A5 devices has opened up a world of possibilities and extensions to Siri which has been evident with the released and upcoming tweaks.


Now a new Siri tweak by the name of ‘Lingual’ is going to offer functionality that is yet to be seen in other Siri-related tweaks. The tweaks will be available as a plugin for Assistant
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Extensions mod, which for released recently, enabling users to dictate a word or phrase to Siri and request translation real time for one of the 35 supported languages. ‘K3A’ released AssistantExtensions which is available for download at Cydia for free. It offers additional Siri functions and allow developers to write plugins to hook into the Extension tweak which is exactly what Lingual will do.

Before Lingual will function, users will need to have AssistantExtensions installed as a pre-requisite. Developed by CodeThemed, the Lingual plugin will then be activated using the standard Siri methods. Users can say “translate [phrase] to [language]” or “what is [phrase] in [language]” and Siri is going to respond instantly with the required translation. If the plugin works effectively, it is going to be very fruitful.

Lingual is now available in Cydia, and requires a pre-installation of AssistantExtensions which is free of charge.
You can follow our guide here to jailbreak your iPhone 4S or iPad 2 untethered.
This article, Lingual Translates 35 Languages In Real-Time Using Siri (Cydia Tweak), was originally published at simonblog.com.