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A variety of iPhone users are are reporting that new MMS features have been enabled on their handsets in advance of AT&T’s official start date of September 2

By Prince McLean

Apple added new MMS support to iPhone 3.0 to allow users to send pictures, video and audio recordings, contacts, or locations from Maps via 3G-capable iPhones. However, use of the new feature requires operator support.

AT&T, apparently afraid that millions of new iPhone 3.0 users would completely ransack its existing MMS service, reportedly decided to put opt-out service codes on all of its iPhone users’ accounts until the company could beef up its network to accommodate the new demand.

In announcing its plans to enable the feature for iPhone users, AT&T explained, “It was important to give our customers a positive experience from day one. We support more iPhone customers than any other carrier in the world so we took the time necessary to make sure our network is ready to handle what we expect will be a record volume of MMS traffic. We truly appreciate our customers’ patience and hope they’ll understand our desire to get it right from the start.”

Rather than turning on MMS service for millions of American iPhone users all at once, AT&T has been selectively activating users across the country. Once activated, iPhone 3G and 3GS users should see a new “Cellular Data Network” menu item within the General/Network page of the Settings app and a new camera icon within the Messages app for sending photos.

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Music workstation suite adds flexible audio, improved editing and live performance, simulated amps and effects

by Peter Kirn, Macworld.com

Digital music workstation software can include an encyclopedic array of functionality. But when it comes to using these tools creatively in music making, a few details and the way they fit together can make a huge difference.

PROS
Flex Time and editing improvements make manipulating recorded audio more satisfying; MainStage 2 is a more complete live performance solution; lots of amp and effects goodies; many subtle usability tweaks.

CONS
MainStage’s looper can’t set a tempo from a first loop; Some tasks require switching between Flex Time Markers and Transient Markers; MIDI editing and some add-ons due for a refresh.

Posted by Soulskill on Slashdot.

Apple just finished their latest press event, and they revealed a number of new services and features for their products. They kicked things off by saying that iPhone OS 3.1 is now available. It will add the Genius recommendation technology to the App store, giving users suggestions on which apps they might find useful based on what others with similar needs use. They’re also adding 30,000 ringtones that users can purchase. Next, they announced iTunes 9, which will use Genius to make mixes by analyzing songs in your library to see which go well together. iTunes is also seeing UI improvements for things like app management, and syncing utilities. You’ll be able to easily transfer apps, music, and videos from one of your local devices to another, and there is integrated support for Twitter and Facebook if you want to send music as a gift. Another big new feature: iTunes LPs. These LPs will be a digital album with cover art, lyrics, videos, and other customized content created by the artists themselves. Moving on, they showed off a few new games: an Assassin’s Creed sequel, an FPS called Nova that had impressive graphics and multiplayer capability, Riddim Ribbon, a futuristic driving/music game that lets you remix your songs by how you navigate the course, and Madden NFL 2010. Next, Apple announced a price cut for the 8GB iPod Touch and a doubling of available storage for the other models. It’s also getting OpenGL 2.0. The iPod Classic is getting a storage upgrade from 120GB to 160GB. In addition, there are headphones that have a controller for the Shuffle. Finally, Jobs got down to his “one more thing”: Apple will now be building a video camera into the back of every iPod Nano. Apparently it will be a simple matter to sync videos to your computer or put them up on YouTube, and they’re building in an FM radio as well. A detailed liveblog of the event with a ton of screenshots is available at Engadget.

Apple Announces iTunes 9, “LPs,” Video Camera For the iPod Nano

Prince McLean, AppleInsider

The new iTunes 9 offers special “iTunes Extras” as free downloads with the purchase of “iTunes LP” albums or movies. The new free bonus content is delivered as a self-contained website of bonus materials, making it easy to author.

Apple rivals DVD with new iTunes Extras for movies and albums

Comparing Microsoft and Apple Websites’ Usability

‘In the article entitled Apple vs. Microsoft — A Website Usability Study, Dmitry Fadeyev, co-founder of Pixelshell, compares Apple’s and Microsoft’s web sites from a usability perspective, and Apple is the winner. Scott Barnes, PM at Microsoft, agrees with him and suggests the problem is because various site sub-domains have different management.’

Lollapalooza: Prepare for the show with iPhone apps

For anyone trying to navigate Lollapalooza 2009, one of the biggest music festivals in the U.S, running August 7-9 in Grant Park, Chicago, Jim Dalrymple (www.loopinsight.com) reports that there are several iPhone apps for that. Read more…

Shake up your web design, grab a skateboard

Yeah, you’re irked. Your client has a great idea for an internet business, has spend hours working though the details, you sit down to start a layout, and nothing! You’re stuck. The ever-present deadline looms and you need to be productive tonight or your schedule is shot. What do you do?

For years my favorite cure for for writer’s block, designer’s block or boredom of any sort has involved a skateboard. My house is located near Little Cottonwood Canyon for two reasons. The world-class winter conditions a few minutes away at Snowbird and the many canyon hills surrounding my house.

My freelance work is usually late at night, and many moonlit nights have found me bombing my steep little Alta Canyon Road under the 1 AM streetlights. A few exhilarating trips down the hill and my heart is pounding, my brain is alert, and I’ve had the necessary diversion to once again be productive.

Sector 9 Skateboards

On our annual beach trip to Balboa Peninsula, my eight year old daughter, Ellie, took a giant interest in skateboarding. In fact she spent so much time on my Sector 9 Cosmic 1 deck that I went out and bought a new Sunset Bamboo Series Sector 9. I know it’s a concave rip off of a Loaded deck, but it sure carves nice.

So last Friday I had the day off of work. The 24th of July is a state holiday in Utah. It’s basically a second 4th of July disguised with the title “Pioneer Day”. Who am I to complain about a day off. Lately, I’ve been interested in building an old-school deck. In fact, I’ve even been scouring eBay for my first real early 70’s skateboard, an aluminum with big Road Rider wheels. I loved that deck like no other.

banzai skateboard
Mine was blue

So on Friday morning I took Landon and Ellie to my old shop, Salty Peaks, to build an old-school deck for Ellie that I might ride a little when she wasn’t looking 🙂 Of course she was more interested in every flavor of pink instead of how closely dad could recreate is old 70’s friend. But I must say we ended up with a fun little Real custom old-school deck.

After a few minutes of assembling and padding up Ellie in her safety gear, we were off to have mexican food and practice in a parking lot near our house. We took several runs and Ellie was doing so well. Then it happened, a teenage in a white sub-compact car came speeding directly at us. I don’t know what he was watching but we were the only ones in a giant parking lot and he was about to run us down. I grabbed Landon, turned around to yell “Stop” to Ellie and the next thing I knew, Landon and I were down. I broke Landon’s fall except the poor guy bumped his cheek a little, and fortunately the kid in the car was nice enough to slow down and swerve around us as I picked up my 3 year old boy.

I sat him on my skateboard and realized my right shoulder wasn’t exactly where is was supposed to be. I few doctor visits later and I’m supposedly good as new, but it sure does hurt.

Sector 9 Skateboards

Sector 9 Skateboards
My new and improved bionic shoulder

So apparently I did an extra good job of diverting myself from designer’s block this time. Hopefully when all of this loritab wears off, I’ll be able to focus, because no one in my family will let me skateboard in the near future.

Using SlideShow Pro and ExpressionEngine

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We recently completed this photography web site (http://www.impressionsbysydney.com). Sydney (our client) had a site that was built completely in Flash. She was unable to update the site without contacting a web guy. This was frustrating and expensive for her and caused her to not update the images on her site often.

She requested a simple clean look and the ability to update everything on the site dynamically. She also didn’t have a giant budget.

We decided on SlideShow Pro and SlideShow Pro Director to provide a simple upload process, an easy way to edit slideshows, image orders, thumbnails and the overall presentation of her photography.

Secondly we chose ExpressionEngine as a way to edit the site copy, quotes, navigation, and a few homepage links.

Scott and I were pleasantly surprised at the timeline we were able to hold as we developed the site and how easily these two tools integrated to fulfill our particular needs. Our biggest difficulties came trying to install ExpressionEngine on Godaddy where our client hosts her site. We worked through the issues but lost some sleep reading through forum posts from others installing on Godaddy.

Overall, we’re happy with the project and and the experience we gained.

Lost your iPhone?
I found this blog reviewing the “Find my iPhone” feature on Apple’s MobileMe Service. Read More >

DAZ Studio 3 Box

DAZ 3D (www.daz3d.com) has announced a new free version of its
3D art and animation package, DAZ Studio 3, as well as the debut of
its enhanced, professional-quality toolset, DAZ Studio 3 Advanced,
whic is targeted to 3D animators, designers and illustrators.

DAZ Studio 3 offers improved OpenGL preview display with new camera
and light pointer tools, depth of field and support for version 8.5
of Pixar’s RenderMan compliant 3Delight render engine. This tool is
designed to allow hobbyists to create digital art and animation using
their choice of virtual people, animals, props, vehicles, accessories
and environments. Users can select their subject and/or setting,
arrange accessories, setup lighting and immediately begin to create
artwork.

DAZ Studio 3 Advanced adds a set of new professional-level tools
including advanced render effects and shaders, COLLADA import/export,
animation keyframe editing, figure mixing and support for 64-bit
systems.

Now available forMac OS X 10.4 or higher, DAZ Studio 3 is free to
registered DAZ 3D members. DAZ Studio 3 Advanced, priced at
US$149.95, comes pre-configured with DAZ 3D content that is ready to
be loaded and rendered at the push of a button.

For even further advancement of 3D content creation, DAZ 3D
additionally offers the DAZ Studio Advanced Bundle, which couples DAZ
Studio 3 Advanced with a suite of DAZ 3D advanced content creation
plug-ins, including: Figure Setup Tools, 3D Bridge for Photoshop, FBX
Exporter and Multi-Layered Image Editor. The DAZ Studio Advanced
Bundle costs $499.95.