Synaptics Adds More Multi-Touch Gestures, All of Them Still Polite

Synaptics gestures

Synaptics gestures

News from Synaptics this morning is making all of the mouse vendors scurry away in sadness. Synaptics Gestures Suite 2009 is here and with it comes more productivity-enhancing multi-touch gestures and support for larger PC trackpads. Here’s a run-down of the gestures in the Suite:

  • Two-Finger Scrolling: It’s one of the features that I’m so used to on a Mac, that I often do it without thinking on PC, simply out of reflex.
  • Two-Finger Rotate: photos or pages in what Synaptics calls the “most common photo and document applications”. They specifically name Windows Photo Gallery and Adobe.
  • Two-Finger Pinch Zoom: You pinch, it zooms. ‘k?
  • Three-Finger Flick: Flick right for next and left for previous, which is very handy when surfing the web. Flicking up starts or plays, while down stops or ends: might be useful for media, no?

And about that support for larger touchpads: Synaptics says they have a new hardware pattern which supports an area up to 5.8-inches in diameter. Clearly we won’t be seeing them make use of that on a netbook unless we drop the keyboard altogether, but for your 13-inch and up notebooks, you might see a larger sweet spot in 2009.

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Weekly App Store Roundup: Dec. 27, 2008

This week I pick my 12 favorite apps of the year as we lead 2008 around the back and shoot it’s face off, while gently beckoning a fresh-faced 2009 through the front door.

Just because it’s the holiday season, doesn’t mean Apple news stops happening. Quite the contrary in fact because this week we got all existential with Psystar’s ever-more-fantastical litigation, waxed lyrical with the creators of, and even chucked in a special Mac-themed gift — from us to you — for good measure.

Seeing as it’s not just the end of a week but the end of an entire year, I thought a special year-end Roundup was in order. Below I’m bringing together some of the best apps I’ve featured over the year and a few that I didn’t have space to mention. (Note, those looking for my Twitter app recommendation should check out my 12 Twitter Apps article.)

This year, I’ve been looking at Evernote, Harvest, Urbanspoon, Locly, Klick, iPolaroid, Backgammon Online, Cookie Bonus Solitaire, BeatMaker, FourTrack, Stanza and Palringo.

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Fixing Poor Laptop Ergonomics

Got a MacBook for Christmas? I’ve used laptop computers almost exclusively for a dozen years now, and they’ve been great, but for day in, day out, workhorse duty the standard laptop configuration does have serious ergonomic deficiencies.

If you position the computer high enough for comfortable and ergonomically healthy viewing angle to the screen, your wrists will be cranked down in unhealthy ape-hanger mode, stressing soft connective tissues, including the troublesome carpal tunnel where the brachial nerves pass through your wrists to your hands.
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Daily Apple: Snake, Paris, Keynote Concerns, & Business Triggers

Metal Gear Confirmed for iPhone – Snake’s going to be stealthy on your iPhone or iPod touch in the near future, thanks to Konami. They’re also planning on releasing Silent Hill and Dance Dance Revolution games. I want Grey Fox in the Metal Gear game. That’s an order.

Apple Expo Paris Nixed – Yesterday, Apple was announcing its last year at Macworld. Today, there’s more bad news for Apple convention goers, as Apple Expo Paris announced that the trade show will not happen in 2009. C’est la vie!

Jobs Won’t Present Keynote, Health Concerns Crop Up Yet Again – Steve won’t be taking part in the Expo this year at all, with the honor of the keynote going instead to Apple SVP Steve Schiller. Some of the speculation is that he’s staying away for health reasons, adding another link in the seemingly endless chain of rumors about his supposed illness.

Dow Jones Releases Sales Trigger iPhone App – If you’re the business type, as more and more iPhone users are, this app might be useful. It provides up-to-the-minute information on important changes at listed companies, like entering and exiting management personnel, mergers, etc.

Current Picks Rotten Tomatoes for TV Show

rotten_tomatoesRotten Tomatoes and Current are partnering to create a new TV series based on the famous vegetable-centric movie review site, the two companies announced today.

The Rotten Tomatoes Show on Current (yikes, that’s really an… unimaginative title) will be a half-hour show aired weekly on Current TV and distributed on and From the press release:

In addition to the latest movie news and information, each irreverent episode will feature crowd-sourced rants and best-of lists influenced by the viewers. “The Rotten Tomatoes Show on Current” will also include the famous Tomatometer, bringing Rotten Tomatoes’ unique metric based on aggregated critic ratings to TV for the very first time.

There aren’t many details about the show yet, such as when it will launch or exactly how much interactivity will be a part of the show (maybe live Twittering?). But this move is in keeping with Current’s shift to a cross-platform strategy that will roll out early next year.

In November, Current went through a round of layoffs as part of this strategic move and said it was launching channels that would have both a TV show and a web presence. The company is reportedly moving away from the shorter-form “pod” programming to more traditional half-hour shows.

Wonder how this one will rate.

Joost Connects With Facebook

Web TV platform Joost launched its Facebook Connect integration this morning, allowing users to log into Joost using their Facebook account. Once in, users can see all of their Facebook friends that are on Joost, interact with them, find out what they are watching and watch with them, as well as receive Joost notifications through the social networking site.


Facebook Connect went live last week, and has a host of partners that have agreed to use it, including video sites Hulu (s nbcu) and Howcast (which has implemented its Connect). According to Facebook, users who log into partner sites using Connect have a roughly 50 percent higher engagement rate when compared to non-Connect users (though Om calls this “marketing hocus-pocus”).

This continues the opening of Joost, which went to a download-free, all-Flash version of the service in October, and follows hot on the heels of its iPhone (s aapl) app, which launched in November.

Printer Review: Canon Pixma MX7600

At the $400 price point, the Canon Pixma MX7600 is a beautiful all-in-one (AIO) printer. For most small office/home office users (SoHo’s), it could easily meet their needs. It is moderate in size (21.0″ x 19.7″ x 10.1″) and includes wired networking.

Full disclosure: I have owned two other Canon printers (a MultiPASS MP390 and a Pixma MP970) and they both have been exceptional in terms of print quality as well as being made like tanks.

One of the novel features of this device is the way in which it puts the ink to the paper. Initially, the Pixma 7600 lays down a layer of clear ink and then begins to add the respective colors. Honestly, this seemed like a marketing gimmick, until I viewed the print quality.
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5 Things You Never Knew About Spotlight

Many people use Quicksilver as a replacement for Spotlight, but if you’re happy with the native file search and app launcher in Mac OS X, then why change? You probably know that you can access Spotlight quickly with the Command-spacebar keyboard shortcut, but here are a few more tricks you might not know exist.

  • Spotlight makes a great calculator and dictionary. Just open the search box, type an equation, and watch the answer appear as you type. It works on long equations with several steps (623+191*87-4), as well as mathematical terms like square root or power. Type a word in the search box and its meaning appears in the results — so you can search for the definition of pi or the numerical value of pi, your choice.
  • By default, Spotlight shows the first 20 results of a search. While you can’t change the number of returns, you can eliminate some of the categories the app checks so the results you get are more pertinent. Select Spotlight in the System Preferences, and click on Search Results. If you typically use Spotlight to search documents and email then uncheck categories like Webpages and Music so they’re ignored in the future.
  • Do you tag your pictures with keywords in iPhoto? Use Spotlight to snag images and drop them right into an email without even opening iPhoto. If your photos contain metadata on what type of camera was used, start your search with the keyword make to get a list of all pictures taken with that camera (for example, make:Nikon).
  • Spotlight can search inside the public files of other Macs on your network, if they’re running Leopard. If they’re running an older version of OS X, or another operating system entirely, it can only search for specific file names.
  • Many popular third-party apps, like OmniOutliner and Intaglio, have plugins for Spotlight to make their files searchable too. Check here for a full list of what’s available, and to find out if your favorite app has a plugin you didn’t know about.

What’s your favorite Spotlight trick? Let me know in the comments.

Early Look at Livestation on the iPhone

Livestation is demoing live-video streaming on the iPhone and iPod touch. Pretty cool stuff, but the product isn’t out yet, and it will only be available over Wi-Fi.