Monday, March 21, 2011

Simple hack retrofits iPad 1 for Smart Cover

Smart Cover is one of the killer features of iPad 2. It automagically snaps into place with the satisfyingly clicking sound, thanks to the use of 21 hidden magnets. The cover auto-aligns and props up the device perfectly while its microfiber cloth keeps the screen clean when the iPad is not in use. And now, you can retrofit the original iPad for the use with the new cover, thanks to a nifty DIY trickery from the guys behind The Russians Used A Pencil website.

Although not a hack per se, it nevertheless works like a charm. “The solution is incredibly simple and not for the fain of heart. Basically, I glued four rare earth magnets to the spine of the iPad,” one of the guys behind the project explains in the below video. The trick is in finding the right place for the magnets, he explains:

To place the magnets, I stuck them first to the magnetized hinge of the Smart Cover. I slid them around until they became locked into a position. This ended being asymmetrical, but I didn’t mind. I then lined up the cover with the iPad and used masking tape to mark where the magnets should be placed.
The solution won’t wake up the device from sleep when you open the cover because that requires additional sensors inside the tablet. It does, however, feel completely natural and looks awesome.

You can use transparent tape to affix the magnets to the iPad or opt for super glue should you dare explore a more permanent solution, he writes. Eventually removing the super glue-affixed magnets involves “chipping them off with a flathead screwdriver and a very light tap of the hammer.”

Smart Cover for iPad 1 from Studio Neat on Vimeo.

*thanks 9to5Mac*

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Who should pick up Sprint?

With the AT&T merger with T-Mobile now in the works, Sprint’s stock is down 15% and seems ripe for a pick up in the rapidly-consolidating wireless/mobile space. But who should pick up Sprint?

Is Apple, with its monster war chest, finally ready to rid itself of the carriers in the US?

First of all the deal would also likely include the assets of Clearwire and its WiMAX 4G network which is now valued at just over $1B. The total market cap for the two companies would be just south of $15B. That would make a buyout in the $20B range, still only about half of the T-Mobile deal.

Verizon is one obvious candidate. One reason to make a move would be to force the FTC/FCC into action on their competition. If AT&T–T-Mobile isn’t enough to get the regulators off their backsides, a perspective duopoly could be. And how could you deny Verizon-Sprint while OK-ing AT&T -T-Mobile? Block!

IF the deal somehow went through, Verizon would also benefit from the added subscribers, compatible networks and added spectrum in the same way AT&T is from T-Mobile and could use the very same arguments to justify a purchase. Verizon would have spent half of AT&T on T-Mobile, gotten more customers and a bigger network.

But Verizon isn’t the only potential suitor.

Comcast, fresh off their NBC pickup and subsequent year dealing with anti-trust regulators might be willing to keep its anti-trust team busy with the pick up. The move would allow the cable operator to offer a full spectrum of services from home internet/telephone/CableTV and now wireless. Wireless cable on mobile devices would also be a reality, especially over 4G WiMAX without any messy partnerships to set up.

Two of Comcast’s biggest competitors are Verizon and AT&T – which have something (wireless) Comcast obviously doesn’t. A deal there makes a lot of sense if the cable operator can pull it off. Another competitor, Cox, is already a Sprint MVNO.

Cablevision (Optimum) is also working on phones. Now all they need is a network to put them on. They currently use,,,wait for it…Sprint as an MVNO.

Google is also a possible suitor. Google and Sprint announced a pretty significant Google Voice integration plan today which would make just about every Sprint phone a Google phone. Google has previously been seen bidding on wireless spectrum before and has a lot of ISP ambitions. The move would alienate AT&T and Verizon, however, from using Android devices – devices from their wireless competitor.

Apple really doesn’t have a horse in this race, at least yet. Although a CDMA iPhone 4 is now out, it has no formal relationship with Sprint. Apple, too, would alienate Verizon and AT&T by becoming a carrier – though I think Apple would be more wiling to do so than Google, for instance.

Apple does like to own the whole experience and just about every bad thing written about the iPhone and iPad is related to their carrier integration. Apple obviously has the money and customer base to do something like this and the war chest is obviously on hand. Steve Jobs and Tim Cook have both said Apple was holding onto its cash in order to make a game-changing purchase. This would be exactly such a purchase. In fact, thinking about it that way, it is hard to imagine any other such purchase, at least right now.

Still, it is hard to imagine Apple getting into Sprint’s mess of 50 million users (most of which aren’t going to be iPhone candidates), billing systems, in-house MVNOs like Virgin and Boost, etc. It all seems too complex for a company that craves simplicity.

Things could change, however, if Google got involved in the bidding – and Google under Larry Page is even wackier than under Eric Schmidt.

There are also companies like Microsoft, RIM, Nokia,and various other domestic and imported private and public entities that could bid for Sprint.

The smaller T-Mobile just went for about three times Sprint’s market cap so it seems like whoever picks up the company will have gotten a bargain.

*thanks 9to5Mac*

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Google’s silent updating in action: Chrome squashes nasty Flash Player bug ahead of Adobe

When a critical Flash Player vulnerability was discovered being used in the wild last week, Adobe posted an advisory and promised an update within a week. The exploitable software flaw lets attackers take control of your system after opening an Excel spreadsheet with an embedded malicious Flash file (Office 2010 is said to feature safety countermeasures that prevent harmful code execution).

This undoubtedly nasty bug that affected the whole web and not just the parts of it needed a quick fix. It comes as a surprise that Google has managed to beat Adobe to the update punch by squashing the bug with a Chrome update while Adobe preps to issue the fix this week. How’s that possible?

For starters, Google and Adobe have an ongoing relationship that gives the search monster access to early Flash Player builds. In this case, a yet-to-be-released Flash Player build comes integrated with the latest Chrome update. Folks who run Flash Player plug-in for other browsers are left in the cold.

Second, Chrome takes silent updating to extremes. A Google process runs in the background on your computer, awaiting notification from the update server. When an update goes live, the process downloads files and updates your browser. This happens silently and the installation completes the next time Chrome restarts. You don’t even realize it unless you check out the version number by choosing About Google Chrome under the wrench menu.

Apple stopped preloading Flash Player on Macs last October. The Flash plug-in is often blamed for crashes, poor performance and its resource intensiveness. Daring Fireball cautions people to uninstall Flash from their Mac and instead use Chrome for online Flash videos, games and other content. It’s a sound advice. After all, the recently released Chrome 10 did extend sandboxing technology to the integrated Flash Player. As a result, the plug-in runs as a separate process isolated from other tabs, the rest of the browser and a host operating system.

Related Stories on 9to5 Mac
Adobe ships Flash Player 10, AIR 2.0 betas, will iPhone smile?
Adobe currently testing optimized Flash Player for new MacBook Air
Google Chrome for Mac (beta) available now
Adobe slams Snow Leopard Flash Player security patch
Google officially enters the OS Wars with Chrome OS

*thanks 9to5Mac*

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New MacBook Pros default boot in 64-bit mode

Here’s an interesting little tidbit we didn’t notice until just now: Apple boots those new MacBook Pros into 64-bit Snow Leopard rather than 32-bit, like every other Mac out there save the Mac Pro (which the MacBook Pro certainly competes with and juice up to 16GB of RAM). We’re sure some people noticed it before but we hadn’t seen it elsewhere.

Also of interest, the new MacBook Pros have 6Gb SATA III which was benchmarked pretty spectacularly by BareFeats. Unfortunately, the optical drive only has 4Gb SATA II for you SSD-in-optical-bay modders.

To switch between 64 and 32-bit modes on your 64-bit supported Mac, you can use either of these methods:

Method 1: Startup key combination (for current startup only)

If your Mac uses the 32-bit kernel by default, but supports the 64-bit kernel, you can start up using the 64-bit kernel by holding the 6 and 4 keys during startup.
If your Mac uses the 64-bit kernel by default, you can start up with the 32-bit kernel by holding the 3 and 2 keys during startup.
Your Mac will revert to the default kernel the next time you reboot it.

Method 2: On-disk setting (persistent)

To select the 64-bit kernel for the current startup disk, use the following command in Terminal:

sudo systemsetup -setkernelbootarchitecture x86_64

To select the 32-bit kernel for the current startup disk, use the following command in Terminal:

sudo systemsetup -setkernelbootarchitecture i386

Note: This setting is stored in the /Library/Preferences/SystemConfiguration/ file and will take effect every time you start up from this disk. If you start up from a different disk, the setting on that disk, or the hardware default, will take effect.

*thanks 9to5Mac*

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