FCC Change Means Apple Might Not Have To Deal With Cable Companies At All To Release The iTV

The FCC could make Apple’s TV dreams more of a reality.

It could soon be a whole lot easier for Apple to compete with pay TV providers as the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) considers a change to the definition of “multichannel video programming distributor.” To date, the term has been applied only to cable companies like Comcast, Time Warner Cable, or DirecTV. But as similar services continue to grow online, the FCC is questioning whether it should also apply to the likes of Hulu, Netflix, and in the future, Apple.

A change would mean that Apple would be free to offer up a number of TV channels just like any cable provider, without having to negotiate with those cable providers over expensive programming deals.

Of course, this could be hugely disruptive to the pay TV industry, and so cable providers are urging the FCC not to rush into a decision. For Apple, on the other hand, the ruling could be incredibly beneficial to its plans to deliver a new television set that offers up Apple’s own channels.

As things stand, Apple must approach each channel and negotiate programming deals that would allow it to show their content via an upcoming Apple television set. Of course, these channels don’t want you to “cut the cord” and say goodbye to your cable subscription, so they’re going to make it very difficult and very expensive for Apple to get what it wants.

However, if the FCC makes the changes it is proposing, there would be nothing to prevent Apple from offering a number of channels of its own and cutting deals with the TV studios directly.

You couldn’t ditch the cable companies altogether, of course, because you’d still need the Internet connection to watch TV. But you’d no longer need to sign up for those Internet and TV bundles. Whether this would see Internet prices rise as companies attempt to claw back their losses remains to be seen.

Source: ZDNet

from Cult of Mac http://www.cultofmac.com/170078/fcc-change-means-apple-might-not-have-to-deal-with-cable-companies-at-all-to-release-the-itv/

Make Your Mac Read Documents To You [OS X Tips]

Sure would be great to listen to every day documents easily, say, on a long drive or airplane commute. There are a ton of ways to make this happen, including some third party apps, but this is a pretty slick, easy way to turn any text you can highlight into spoken text that can be put on an iPhone, iPad, or iPod, ready to go along with you.

First up, it’s good to understand that this is essentially an Automator service. Introduced in Snow Leopard (and available in Lion), the service must be enabled first. To do that, launch System Preferences, which is found in the Applications folder. Once launched, click on the Keyboard preference pane icon, then the Keyboard Shortcuts tab.

Next, click on Services in the left column, and then scroll along down to the Text section. Click the box next to the Add to iTunes As A Spoken Track service. Go ahead and quit out of System Preferences.

Now all you need to do is open any text document or PDF that you can select the text in, select it, then go to the application menu. For example, I used Preview to pull up a text document, I highlighted the text in it, and went to the Preview menu. Select Add to iTunes as a Spoken Track.

Once that’s done, you’ll have the option to choose a voice from your installed system voices (more on this later this week), and decide what to name the resulting file. When you hit the Continue button, iTunes will open if it isn’t already, process the file, and a chime will play when the task is completed. A larger amount of text thrown at it will take longer, of course, and is dependent on your Mac’s speed and memory.

Choosing a location different than the default didn’t seem to matter when I tried this; I found the files in my iTunes song list either way. Play the new spoken track in iTunes, or send it to your iPhone for on the go spoken document goodness.

Source: Macworld

from Cult of Mac http://www.cultofmac.com/169999/make-your-mac-read-documents-to-you-os-x-tips/

You Won’t Believe How Much Crazy Science & Microscopic Tech Is Crammed Into Your iPhone’s Accelerometer [Video]

Your iPhone’s accelerometer only costs sixty-five cents, but it’s packed with cool tech.

Have you ever wondered how your iPhone knows up from down, or when you’re shaking it? It’s all because of the tiny accelerometer chip inside the device, but how does it work? It’s not like the iPhone’s got a metal ball bearing rolling between two points in there, so what gives?

As it turns out, there’s actually a lot of crazy cool tech in there.

Surprisingly, the way an accelerometer works is actually not that different from the ball bearing example above, as Bill Hammack the the Engineer Guy explains. It’s just a lot smaller scale.

Essentially, in every accelerometer, you have these extremely, springs made out of silicon, which oscillate back and forth between contact points. When they move according to the force of gravity, those contact points can measure the charge, and figure out which way the iPhone is pointing and how it’s moving.

These springs are tiny. So tiny that they’re about the size of a pencil tip. So how do you build a spring that small? That’s an even more fascinating story, involving tiny wafers of silicon covered in an interlacing series of masks which are impervious to a corrosive bath of potassium hydroxide.

That’s a lot of crazy super science packed into an iPhone chip that is estimated to only cost Apple sixty five cents.

Source: YouTube
Image: Chipworks

from Cult of Mac http://www.cultofmac.com/168772/you-wont-believe-how-much-crazy-science-microscopic-tech-is-crammed-into-your-iphones-accelerometer-video/

ProCamera Makes A Decent Camera For Pros [Review]

That’s my kitchen that is

Looking for a “pro” camera app for your iPhone? There’s no shortage of options on the App Store. This week, we’re taking a look at one that has the most descriptive name: ProCamera.

ProCamera’s closest rival has got to be the much-lauded (not least by us here at Cult of Mac) Camera+. So how do the two stack up against each other? Pretty well. Feature-for-feature, it’s a pretty close race. Camera+ has more style, there’s no doubt about that. It’s a better-looking app all round. But looks aren’t everything. Camera+ is cheaper by a couple of dollars, but ProCamera is – at least on my iPhone 4 – noticeably faster.

One thing ProCamera does well is separating the camera mode from the edit mode and the settings mode. Yes, “settings mode”. That’s what I call it, anyway. There are so many different settings and prefs (it is a Pro camera after all), that they are sensibly tucked out of sight. Switching to them requires you to wait a couple of seconds, which can be frustrating if you’re trying to vary your photos frequently and rapidly.

What ProCamera offers is a decent degree of manual control – about as much as you’re going to get from an iPhone camera. You have command of the focus, exposure and, to some degree, white balance. All of these are done with simple on-screen buttons that don’t get in the way when composing a shot.

When you’re not in shooting mode, a camera icon always sits at the top-right corner, so you can jump back into it any time. The edit functions are nicely done, although tucked away. From shooting mode, you have to tap the “PRO” button, then “Album & Studios”, then another icon with a paintbrush on it, then one of the options it calls up. That’s a lot of taps before you start editing.

Having started editing, though, the controls are responsive and neatly laid out. There’s a nicely detailed view of the EXIF data for every image, oddly split into two tabs labelled “Pro” and “Expert”. I thought they were roughly the same thing. Anyway.

Finally, there are some built-in special FX, split into four categories. The thumbnails you see are thumbnails of the image you’re working on, which is particularly helpful. Few of the preset FX really appealed to me that much, but that’s just personal taste. There’s a decent choice on offer.

Pro: Does the job simply, quickly and without fuss

Con: More expensive than some just-as-well-equipped alternatives

from Cult of Mac http://www.cultofmac.com/168035/procamera-makes-a-decent-camera-for-pros-review/