Best of 9to5mac.com Toys

We’re seeing a strong growth in our 9to5mac.com/Toys section which means we are saving our readers some money on some exciting products from a number of vendors.  Here’s a collection of fun Apple related items from Amazon that you might have missed over the past few days.  These offers are still good:

http://rcm.amazon.com/e/cm?t=thepartim-20&o=1&p=8&l=as1&asins=B000ZPOPIS&md=10FE9736YVPPT7A0FBG2&fc1=000000&IS2=1&lt1=_blank&m=amazon&lc1=0000FF&bc1=FFFFFF&bg1=FFFFFF&f=ifr http://rcm.amazon.com/e/cm?t=thepartim-20&o=1&p=8&l=as1&asins=B000W9DO7U&md=10FE9736YVPPT7A0FBG2&fc1=000000&IS2=1&lt1=_blank&m=amazon&lc1=0000FF&bc1=FFFFFF&bg1=FFFFFF&f=ifr http://rcm.amazon.com/e/cm?t=thepartim-20&o=1&p=8&l=as1&asins=B001CBKJGG&md=10FE9736YVPPT7A0FBG2&fc1=000000&IS2=1&lt1=_blank&m=amazon&lc1=0000FF&bc1=FFFFFF&bg1=FFFFFF&f=ifr http://rcm.amazon.com/e/cm?t=thepartim-20&o=1&p=8&l=as1&asins=B0019HDAP0&md=10FE9736YVPPT7A0FBG2&fc1=000000&IS2=1&lt1=_blank&m=amazon&lc1=0000FF&bc1=FFFFFF&bg1=FFFFFF&f=ifr http://rcm.amazon.com/e/cm?t=thepartim-20&o=1&p=8&l=as1&asins=B000NWVAFO&md=10FE9736YVPPT7A0FBG2&fc1=000000&IS2=1&lt1=_blank&m=amazon&lc1=0000FF&bc1=FFFFFF&bg1=FFFFFF&f=ifr
http://rcm.amazon.com/e/cm?t=thepartim-20&o=1&p=8&l=as1&asins=B0015DNIKU&md=10FE9736YVPPT7A0FBG2&fc1=000000&IS2=1&lt1=_blank&m=amazon&lc1=0000FF&bc1=FFFFFF&bg1=FFFFFF&f=ifr http://rcm.amazon.com/e/cm?t=thepartim-20&o=1&p=8&l=as1&asins=B0016BCZWS&md=10FE9736YVPPT7A0FBG2&fc1=000000&IS2=1&lt1=_blank&m=amazon&lc1=0000FF&bc1=FFFFFF&bg1=FFFFFF&f=ifr http://rcm.amazon.com/e/cm?t=thepartim-20&o=1&p=8&l=as1&asins=B0013FJBX8&md=10FE9736YVPPT7A0FBG2&fc1=000000&IS2=1&lt1=_blank&m=amazon&lc1=0000FF&bc1=FFFFFF&bg1=FFFFFF&f=ifr http://rcm.amazon.com/e/cm?t=thepartim-20&o=1&p=8&l=as1&asins=B001D7REJ4&md=10FE9736YVPPT7A0FBG2&fc1=000000&IS2=1&lt1=_blank&m=amazon&lc1=0000FF&bc1=FFFFFF&bg1=FFFFFF&f=ifr http://rcm.amazon.com/e/cm?t=thepartim-20&o=1&p=8&l=as1&asins=B001F9LY14&md=10FE9736YVPPT7A0FBG2&fc1=000000&IS2=1&lt1=_blank&m=amazon&lc1=0000FF&bc1=FFFFFF&bg1=FFFFFF&f=ifr

Remember you can add/comments to Toys posts and steer your fellow reader in a better direction if need be.  If you have any good or bad experiences with these products, also, please feel free to comment.

To get 9to5mac.com/Toys in your feedreader, simply add this link:

http://9to5mac.com/toys/feed

 

Boxee gets Netflix. Apple warming up lawyers

Built on the back of the XBMC/Plex.app’s GPL’d hard work, Boxee is now rattling Apple’s cage just a bit harder.  Today they announced support for Netflix download service on all platforms except AppleTV (still working on that one).  They also added some other content sources:

  • a new Hulu – looks more like hulu.com, enables you to login (so you can get your Hulu Queue), works faster, and playback should be greatly improved on Apple TV
  • a new YouTube – new look, as well as higher quality video playback. some of these YouTube clips look pretty good on your 46” LCD
  • a new CNN, Flickr, Picasa and Apple Movie Trailers – we’ve re-written all of these plug-ins to work faster and look better
  • Boston Globe’s The Big Picture – it’s a great photo-blog, which we really like, and thought could be pretty cool in a 10-foot experience. if you’ll like it we could bring much more of these type of services (let us know!)
  • integration with MTV Music – when you click on an album you’ll see a new option to let you watch music videos of the artist. check it out. MTV said they can give us higher quality videos, and we have a few more ideas for providing a great music video experience on boxee
  • theWB – on our quest to bring more TV content to boxee theWB is the latest addition. it means shows like Buffy, Babylon5, Firefly, One Tree Hill and The O.C. are now available on boxee

on the bug fixing/polish front:

  • support for skip forward, rewind in Hulu, CBS, etc. – this is a big one.. should work now. the code behind it is sooo ugly that yuvalt had to chew on anti-nausea tablets while writing it
  • improved streaming of podcast, trailers and youtube videos – we rewrote the buffering/caching mechanism. Skip and rewind within video streams is now much better
  • more boxee less crashee – it’s still alpha, and it will crash from time to time (we promise), but this version is supposed to be more stable. we are trying to weed out those nasty bugs – help us out by submitting bugs to support@boxee.tv or post in our forum
  • faster scanning of local/network media – your movies, tv shows and albums should be identified faster. if you have a huge music collection then you could still cook a 7-course dinner, wash the dishes and read a telephone book before it will be done, but it’s greatly improved..
  • new on-screen keyboard – as dave described when he reported the bug “typing a URL with our on-screen keyboard is a once in a lifetime experience. you do it once, and never want to do it again”. so we made it a bit better
  • faster loading of the movies/music screen in case you have hundreds or thousands of albums..
  • fixes and new look for to the lyrics and subtitles features – the new auto-scroll of the lyrics is arbitrary… but sometimes it works pretty well. fooled me the first time I tried it

Google Earth browser plugin now available for Safari and Firefox on Mac

You’ll want to be getting this…

What is the Google Earth API?

The Google Earth Plug-in and its JavaScript API let you embed Google Earth, a true 3D digital globe, into your web pages. Using the API you can draw markers and lines, drape images over the terrain, add 3D models, or load KML files, allowing you to build sophisticated 3D map applications. If you have an existing Maps API site, you can 3D-enable your page with as little as one line of code.

New! The Earth Browser Plug-in is now available on Mac OS X (Intel and PowerPC).

Note: The Google Earth API and Maps API Terms of Service have been recently updated.

The Google Earth API is a free beta service, available for any web site that is free to consumers. Please see the terms of use for more information.

Black Friday every day. Presenting 9to5Mac Toys

We’ve been hard at work finding good Apple-related deals for you guys over the past few months but thought we could really step it up a notch by getting one of the experts involved.

So, we went to the best deals site out there, Dealnews, and we’ve pulled only their Apple related merchandise into our blog posts.  From time to time we’ll put a post onto our frontpage content (if it is that insane) but it will constantly be updated (about 20-30 posts/day) on our new Toys site: 

http://9to5mac.com/toys

You’ll be able to comment on the products just like any other blog post and give your fellow 9to5mac readers some direction with their purchasing.  Perhaps you know of better deals out there or you have some positive or negative opinions about the products being offered?  Let everyone know. 

We’ll feature the top 5 deals in a block on the right side of the page and also have a link to 9to5mac.com/toys at the top nav bar. If you are a feed type of person, grab the feed here.  Other than that, get shopping!

Just a little ‘for instance': $120 for a 1.5TB hard drive with free shipping

 

9to5mac sometimes may recieve financial beneft from purchased items through our affiliate programs and partner, Dealnews.

 

Plex media center adds Aperture support, continues to shine

Plex.app hits .71 release this week and continues its ascent to the top of the Apple media center world.  Sure, Frontrow is blessed by Apple.  Boxee has lifted the same XBMC code and gone a different direction.  But, as far as fully funtioning Media Centers go, Plex.app is easily the best, and getting better fast.

This latest update adds support for Aperture library browsing (iPhoto and iTunes has been supported for months).  Not just your Aperture either…but any Aperture out there on the Internet so long as everyone is using Plex.  Support for Adobe’s Lightroom is also on the way.

Recent features include the ability to open any application from Plex’s interface (including FrontRow), iTunes visualizers and playback of DRM tracks from the iTunes store and Sparkle software updates.

 

Plex Media server, another recent update,  is a standalone program that runs alongside Plex (or alone on any machine, it’s a Universal Binary). It serves up media from your iLife applications and Aperature/Lightroom. Plex communicates with the Plex Media Server on the local machine, on your local network, or even across the world over the Internet. This means that you can play your friends’ iTunes playlists or browse their podcasts or photo albums.

The list really goes on and on.  Plex is everything you’d want in a media center including the ability to browse folders on any system and play just about any type of audio or video file.  Plex isn’t bound by any of the studio deals or format wars Apple software is limited to.

The release can be downloaded via Sparkle (updates), HTTP, or torrent, or built from source.

 

 

Does ?TV 2.3 kill Boxee?

Apple tonight posted the version 2.3 ?TV software update.  While the updates (below) are somewhat substantial, the million dollar question is: did it kill Boxee?  (Answer Yes it did!)  Don’t upgrade  if you want to keep your Boxee!

In addition we are hearing reports that:

 

  • ?TV v2.3 fixes soft subtitles display. It no longer cuts them off and properly displays multiple lines.
  • It has newly added rentals and newly added purchases under movies.  As well as Recently Played, Highest Rated, and video playlists.
  • added proper hd logos to user encoded movies as well
  • Volume works with music videos, not just audio files.

    With volume control, and improved streaming artwork with the last Remote App update, I will use Apple TV as my server, and not my iMac in my office. Now, when I have parties, I can use my iPhone and friends can use the little white remote. There won’t be any confusion/mess. And it can play in my bedroom with Airpot Express and my bookshelf speakers.

    Downside:

    I’ve lost a "zone", since my iMac can’t act as a client to Apple TV. Not a big deal, but I hope they add this in an iTunes update 

 

Vocito Quicksilver and Addressbook Grandcentral plugin goes live

Google’s Grand Central has had a somewhat slow start, especially on the Mac platform.  Today, however, Google’s Mac Labs have unveiled Vocito

Vocito is a desktop UI for GrandCentral for the Mac. It allows you to easily dial anybody from your desktop. Using GrandCentral it will dial the remote phone and your local phone simultaneously, and connect you together.

 

It integrates into Address Book, Quicksilver, Automater, system services, supports "tel" URLs, and is fully AppleScriptable.

All this integration makes it easy to have Vocito automatically dial your phone from just about any application that supports scripting, html, or Automator actions. For example, you can easily set up your iCal meeting appointment to automatically dial the conference call for you at the correct time.

Vocito also allows you to save little applets that will automatically dial the phone for you with a simple double click.

Since GrandCentral is currently in a limited beta, we don’t have any more invites to hand out right now. So those of you without a GrandCentral number don’t get to play just yet, but please reserve your number now to get in on the action as soon as more invites become available.

Vocito is available here for download. It works on Tiger and Leopard, is both PowerPC and Intel native, and is fully open sourced. There is a discussion group at vocito-discuss on Google Groups, and an FAQ. If you need help using Vocito, check out our ever growing documentation page at VocitoHelp. If you can’t find what you are looking for, please post to vocito-discuss and we’ll get back to you ASAP.

 

Safari 3.2 update fixes bugs, prevents phishing

Safari 3.2 was updated a few minutes ago with not too much in the excitement department.  Safari 3.2 is mostly a security and bug fix release as far as Apple’s KB is concerned.  You can upload from Software update or get a brand spanking new version here.

Initial tests show not much in the way of speed gains.  Anyone else notice anything unusual?  From Apple:

This update is recommended for all Safari users and features protection from fraudulent phishing websites and better identification of online businesses. This update also includes the latest security updates.

For detailed information on the security content of this update, please visit this site: http://support.apple.com/kb/HT1222