BlackBerry PlayBook: iPad Rival or Rookie Mistake?

Research in Motion finally unveiled its much-rumored BlackBerry tablet yesterday, and it looks a lot more impressive at first glance than the company’s most recent handset, the Palm Pre-like Torch. But is this a game-changing device, or will it stumble out of the starting gate?

Many Guild Fans Found Show Thru Avatar Video

Getting seen is one of the toughest challenges for a web series, even a web series like the highly successful Guild. But looking at a survey conducted on The Guild‘s Facebook wall, making a music video seems to be a big help.

My iTunes Account Was Hacked for $375 — By My Own Kids

After finding more than $375 of iTunes transactions on my credit card this weekend, I thought I was hacked. It turns out the “hacker” was my step-daughter who was understandably confused between virtual goods and real currency for in-app purchases inside a free iPhone application.

4 OS X Screenshot Tools

Taking screen captures in OS X is pretty simple and powerful. Today I’ll explain how to use the built-in screen capture functionality, the included application Grab, and a couple of third-party options that offer extra functionality.

Happy Birthday, YouTube. Now, Get Real.

None other than YouTube co-founder Chad Hurley dropped by the company’s blog yesterday to remind us that he and his two co-conspirators registered the domain exactly five years ago. It wasn’t until two months later that the first video actually appeared on YouTube, but Hurley used the domain birthday to remind us of the basic beliefs that drove the founding of the site.

Of course, the exact details of YouTube’s beginnings have been disputed. Hurley and co-founder Steve Chen originally claimed they came up with the idea for the video sharing site during a dinner party due to their frustration over the lack of options to share videos online. However, the third co-founder Jawed Karim, who left the company early on, has long disputed the story, and Hurley eventually told Time Magazine that the dinner party founding myth was “strengthened by marketing ideas around creating a story.” Turns out, this hasn’t been the only case of selective memory.

Read More about Happy Birthday, YouTube. Now, Get Real.

How-To: Create Your Own iTunes LP

iTunes LP Logo

The iTunes LP is the new format Apple has been pushing in iTunes. It’s more like a DVD than anything else. You have menus, music, photos, liner notes and videos. Since this is such a fresh format, not many albums are available in it yet. The good news is, you can make your own.

I’ll take you through the process of creating your own iTunes LP that you can distribute yourself. Read More about How-To: Create Your Own iTunes LP

The Smart Mac: Smart Folders in OS X

Smart Folder icon

Mac OS X offers a computing experience that, according to many, is still unparalleled by its competitors. Built on a rock solid UNIX foundation and continually adding refinements that make interaction easier, OS X has a lot of powerful functionality that many users were unaware existed. One of these is the idea of “Smart Folders” and with a little primer, you can begin using them to make your Mac experience easier (and faster).

A Brief History

The idea of these Smart Folders are not unique to OS X. In fact, the idea started originally in the mid ‘90s with the now defunct BeOS. When Dominic Giampaolo, a software developer for Be, began working for Apple in 2002, some of the best elements of the BeOS made their way into Apple’s modern operating system. We know these features as “Smart Folders” and Spotlight, both of which launched in Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger, two years after Giampaolo began working for Apple.

A “Smart Folder” (or “Search Folder” as Windows Vista calls them when Microsoft introduced its version in 2006) is based on the idea that this folder is basically a “virtual folder” of its actual contents. This virtual folder doesn’t physically store copies of its contents inside but rather utilizes a database to store attributes about the files (defined either by the system or the user). This offers several advantages: they have a small file size, the ability for on-the-fly fine tuning of the criteria used to define the content as well as allowing the content to dynamically update as new files meet the criteria. Whoa. What does all of that mean? We’re getting there. Read More about The Smart Mac: Smart Folders in OS X

By the Numbers: Running Windows-Based MMOs On the Mac

For 90 percent of my daily toil, OS X is the best platform for me. I use it during my day job, freelance writing, school, graphic design, and the usual goofing off everyone does. However, there is one glaring desire missing: I play Massively Multiplayer Online Games (MMOs), and the Mac-native offerings are slim. I’ve had to result to running games in emulators, virtual disks, and Boot Camp partitions, and after running some numbers I thought I’d share my findings with you.

The Games

I play the following MMOs: World of Warcraft, EverQuest 1 and 2, Warhammer Online, Lord of the Rings Online, and Dungeons and Dragons Online. Of these, only WoW and Warhammer have native clients. Which means I’m forced to use some sort of emulation to play them. A commenter  on Liam’s Windows 7 piece said, “You bought an Apple computer so use the Apple software. If you want it so bad go buy a PC.” For me, Apple and OS X are fantastic for my productivity needs, but when it comes to gaming, sadly, it’s still a Windows world. Read More about By the Numbers: Running Windows-Based MMOs On the Mac

Orange Executive Reveals Tablet Details

The web has been rife today with news that Stéphane Richard, an executive from France Télécom, the French communications company, had let slip could-be details about Apple’s (s aapl) supposedly upcoming tablet in a recent radio interview.

During the Europe 1 interview, which aired Monday morning, Richard revealed to radio host Jean Pierre Elkabbach that the highly debated tablet could feature a built-in webcam, possibly similar to that found in Apple’s current computer lineup, and disclosed that the device will have integrated 3G capabilities. According to Richard, cell phone carrier Orange will be providing the 3G network infrastructure for the tablet in France. However, he failed to specify any price points or possible contact plans.

Apple is expected to unveil its long-rumored tablet at a San Francisco press event toward the end of this month, where hopefully all will finally be made known, putting an end to more than a year’s worth of often deliberate speculation.

The translated interview between Richard and Elkabbach follows:

Elkabbach: According to the weekly magazine Le Point, in a few days your partner Apple will launch a tablet?
Richard: Yes.
Elkabbach: Equipped with a webcam?
Richard: Yes.
Elkabbach: Will Orange customers be able to enjoy it?
Richard: Of course!

The entire recorded interview can be seen (in French) over on, with the pertinent details discussed around six minutes in. Read More about Orange Executive Reveals Tablet Details

iType: The Craziest iPhone Accessory Yet?

Among all the introductions at CES 2010 this year, one caught my eye as either iNsane or iNgenious, depending on your viewpoint. ION introduced a full external keyboard and docking station for the iPhone and iPod Touch. One step forward or back? Maybe both.

ION is the company that creates devices to bridge the divide between the analog and digital. It makes turntables that convert your LPs to MP3 and VCRs that convert your VHS tapes to Quicktime. Therefore, it should come as no surprise that the company created a new device, called the iType, to allow traditional typing via a full keyboard on the iPhone. Not quite ready for the iPhone soft keyboard? There’s an app for that. Read More about iType: The Craziest iPhone Accessory Yet?