Xenophilia (True Strange Stuff)

Blog of the real Xenophilius Lovegood, a slightly mad scientist

Archive for September 19th, 2010

Apple Approves Google Voice App for iPhone App Store

Posted by Anonymous on September 19, 2010

More than 14 months after shutting the door on the official and third-party applications for Google Voice, Apple has relented, approving GV Mobile for the iPhone.

Google Voice is a phone management application more than 1.4 million people use to route calls to their phones using a special phone number.

The app, which enables free calls in the U.S. and cheap international calls, lets users enjoy automatic voicemail transcription, the ability to listen to live messages as they come in to voicemail and several other tools to make call management easier.

Google submitted a version of its app for the iPhone to Apple’s App Store for approval in June 2009. Some enterprising developers, such as Sean Kovacs, built apps such as GV Mobile that take the dialing and other capabilities from Google Voice and make them work on Apple’s iPhone.

Google’s app was never approved, though Apple said it never actually rejected the app.

The he said, she said touched off such scrutiny among the media that the Federal Communications Commission formally questioned Google, Apple and AT&T. Apple, it turned out, was indeed behind the rejection.

Third-party apps such as VoiceCentral and GV Mobile was originally approved but then removed for competing too closely with features on the iPhone.

Now, Apple has done an about-face, accepting GV Mobile, Kovacs said on his blog Sept. 18.

The app is available for download from the iTunes Webstore here for $2.99. “After a long year and a half of being home sick, GV Mobile makes an epic return to the App Store,” Kovacs wrote.

Like Google’s version of the app, GV Mobile supports automatic transcription and voicemail playback and most other features. Apple also accepted GV Mobile rival GV Connect, which does what GV Mobile does and also costs $2.99 for purchase here.

The move comes weeks after Apple loosened the reins on its App Store development rules and procedures after enough developers complained about the gauntlet they had to run.

It’s a safe bet that Google’s own Voice app will be approved by Apple, if not this year, than early 2011.

via Apple Approves Google Voice App for iPhone App Store – Application Development from eWeek.

Posted in Technology | 1 Comment »

9/11 Memorial Lights Trap Thousands of Birds

Posted by Anonymous on September 19, 2010

On the evening of the ninth anniversary of 9/11, the twin columns of light projected as a memorial over the World Trade Center site became a source of mystery.

Illuminated in the beams were thousands of small white objects, sparkling and spiraling, unlike anything seen on other nights. Some viewers wondered if they were scraps of paper or plastic caught in updrafts from the spotlights’ heat. From beneath, it was at times like gazing into a snowstorm. It was hard not to think of souls.

Those unidentified objects have now been identified as birds, pulled from their migratory path and bedazzled by the light in a perfect, poignant storm of avian disorientation.

“It’s only happened once before. It’s a confluence of circumstances that come together to cause this,” said John Rowden, citizen science director at the Audubon Society’s New York City chapter. “Some of it has to do with meteorological conditions, and some with the phase of the moon.”

New York City sits in the middle of a major migration corridor, used for millennia by birds flying south for the winter. During autumn nights, thousands of birds pass directly above the megalopolis, a passage generally unnoticed by its human inhabitants.

During the previous week, weather was bad for migration. Tropical storm systems moved north up the U.S. East Coast, pushing against birds headed south. To conserve energy, migratory birds prefer tailwinds, and are willing to wait for good weather.

“Birds were coming down from the north and piling up, waiting to push southwards,” said Rowden.

To navigate, birds rely on a variety of internal compass mechanisms, which are calibrated to Earth’s geomagnetic fields by sunlight, starlight and moonlight. On Sept. 11, the new moon was just two nights old, a thumbnail sliver. In such conditions, birds rely on starlight, but parts of the lower Manhattan sky were overcast.

The buildings resembled stars. Outshining them all was the Tribute in Light above Ground Zero.

Rowden estimates that 10,000 birds entered the beams, becoming confused and circling until the Municipal Art Society, working with New York City Audubon, shut the lights for 20 minutes, allowing the birds to leave. That happened five times over the course of the night.

via 9/11 Memorial Lights Trap Thousands of Birds | Wired Science | Wired.com.

Posted in - Video, History, Strange | Leave a Comment »

 
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