Apple's 2008 Top iPhone Apps section of iTunes

So maybe you just got an iPhone or iPod touch, or maybe you’re going to get one very soon for the holidays. With something like 10,000 applications out there in Apple’s App Store, it’s basically impossible to know which ones to get. Sure, the most popular ones right now are clearly displayed in the store, but those leave out a lot of great ones that have been popular in the past. Luckily, Apple has just rolled out a Top Apps category in iTunes as part of its iTunes 2008 year-end section.

Loopt still homing in on location networking on the iPhone

Apple clearly has high hopes for the location-based social network Loopt. It has shown off Loopt’s iPhone application at conferences, featured it on its displays and even made it central in one of the new iPhone commercials. But Loopt hasn’t yet reached its potential on the device. Everyone is still trying to figure out the best way to do location-based networking. It’s a work-in-progress, and updates to Loopt’s app show that.

Reddit gets an (unofficial) iPhone app

Since the App Store launched this past summer, it was odd to me that none of the big social-voting sites have launched iPhone apps. Sure, all work on the iPhone’s Safari web browser, and some, like Digg, are even optimized for it, but given how devoted some of those sites’ users are, it would seem logical to create slick apps for the services. Now there is one — unofficially — for Reddit.

Blockbuster and Microsoft: Two peas not in an iPod

When I was growing up, if you heard the term “movie rental,” Blockbuster immediately sprung in your head. That’s not the case anymore. Thanks to Netflix, video on demand from the cable companies and an increasing number of options to rent films over the Internet, Blockbuster is increasingly irrelevant. But it’s trying to battle back, and now it has a new partner: Microsoft.

The Huffington Post confirms $25M third round

Political news site The Huffington Post announced today that it has raised $25 million from Oak Investment Partners — significantly higher than the $15 million that was reported by the Times UK in late November. Kara Swisher of All Things Digital says the valuation was slightly less than $100 million.

Antimatter: Pangea makes another winning iPhone game

The first game I downloaded from Apple’s App Store for the iPhone was Enigmo, a puzzle game by the development company Pangea. It’s a great game in the vein of Lemmings, but you manipulate drops of water rather than death-seeking drones — so great, that I still actually play it. (How many iPhone apps can you honestly say you’ve been using for months?) Yesterday, Pangea released a new game into the App Store: Antimatter. After a day of playing it, I’m confident that it’s another winner.

Fake iPhone 2.2.1 image begs the question: Where is Push Notification?

A Russian iPhone blog caused a bit of a stir today when it posted an image it claimed was of the first beta of the 2.2.1 firmware for the iPhone (2.2 was just released last week). The image and report raised eyebrows at quite a few Apple blogs when the author claimed 2.2.1 would finally deliver Push Notification support. The image and report have now been confirmed as fakes, but the question remains: Where is Push Notification?

Last minute Black Friday shopping? Check out cheap iPhone apps

Hopefully you’re sick of shopping by now if you’ve been at it since 4 a.m. or whatever ungodly hour you people wake up (likely before I’m even asleep). But just in case you couldn’t find that one awesomely cheap gift you were looking for, the iPhone application tracking blog AppShopper has a great list of all the iPhone apps that have been recently discounted.

Breaking: Google News doesn't break tech news

Confession: We’re tech news junkies. In order to be any good at what we do (tech blogging), we kind of have to be. A tech news junky’s best friend is an RSS reader — we troll hundreds of sources and thousands of stories on a daily basis looking for that one piece of news worth covering. But sometimes, that simply isn’t feasible all the time — you need an aggregator.

Microsoft finally addresses Red Ring of Death with Jasper-based Xbox 360 consoles

The long-awaited Jasper-based versions of the Xbox 360 have finally emerged on the market. These new consoles have a redesigned motherboard with the new 65-nanometer version of the ATI (now AMD) graphics chip that doesn’t run as hot as previous versions. There are other changes that improve the reliability and usability of the system as well.

Apple's Black Friday sale: No iPhone or MacBook Pro

After a few hours of downtime to prepare for the big Black Friday sale, Apple’s U.S. online store has just come back to life. While you can find savings on iMacs, MacBooks, iPod touches, iPod classics, iPod nanos and the Apple TV, it’s just as noteworthy what isn’t getting discounted: MacBook Pros and iPhones.

CNN quakes as Twitter rapid fires Mumbai news

It’s one thing when a couple dozen or so tech blogs rally around the idea that Twitter is an excellent source for the quick dissemination of news in a time of crisis — many of us have been trumpeting this fact for months if not longer — but it’s another when CNN (and not one of CNN’s blogs, but CNN proper) says the same thing.

About those "rampant" iPhone 2.2 problems…

When I saw the headline on CNET’s iPhone Atlas blog proclaiming that “iPhone OS 2.2 Problems Run Rampant,” I scratched my head. After all, I probably use the iPhone more than most people both for regular tasks and the testing of applications, and I haven’t noticed one noteworthy problem with the new update.

Adding social context to Twitter: Mr. Tweet, and more

Micro-messaging service Twitter offers a simple way to tell the world what you’re up to, and see what your friends are doing. The problem is that it’s missing social context to help you find other users you’d be interested in following. As Twitter has grown to millions of users over the last year or so, the problem has magnified: More and more random strangers are looking for relevant people to follow. Enter an increasing number of companies that want to solve the problem by adding social context to Twitter.

Q&A with AMD's Rick Bergman on the graphics sweet spot

Rick Bergman is the senior vice president and general manager of the graphics products group at chip company Advanced Micro Devices. His team of graphics chip designers –- formerly known as ATI Technologies until AMD acquired the company in 2006 — has scored well with the recent launch of the ATI Radeon HD 4800 series family. The so-called “sweet spot” strategy caught rival Nvidia flat-footed. While Nvidia created a high-end graphics chip that burned a lot of power, AMD created a smaller chip that targeted the middle of the market. It decided that it could put two such chips into a board to create a low-cost, top-performance solution for high-end gamers. Meanwhile, the single chips could be easily targeted toward the mid-range and low-end of the markets. Nvidia, by contrast, has had to wait longer to redesign its chips for the mid-range and low-end markets. The result has been a big shift in market share from Nvidia to AMD, whose graphics chip division is now profitable after a tough 2007. I spoke with him at AMD’s recent analyst meeting at its headquarters in Sunnyvale, Calif., after Bergman gave an upbeat outlook for AMD’s graphics business.

You'll love if you have a Slingbox or can't live without CBS — otherwise you'll still love Hulu

Sling Media, makers of the Slingbox, have just opened up their television streaming site,, to the public. The service, which is not only just like Hulu but actually streams some of Hulu’s content as well, also allows you to watch any content you have on your Slingbox at home right on your browser. That’s a nice feature, but it’s hardly enough to make the masses turn to rather than Hulu. That will only happen if said masses can’t live without CBS content. In other words, it won’t happen… yet.

The curious case of the Microsoft Zune phone

While Microsoft has been busy dilly-dallying with its Zune digital music device, rival Apple has started dominating a vastly more powerful market: Mobile phones. The iPhone has changed things — it makes even the iPod feel like a relic, which makes the Zune feel like bad relic. So it should be no surprise that we’re now hearing a lot of rumors about Microsoft jumping into the mobile phone space.

Microsoft goes for The Guild

The Guild, the popular web series, premieres its second season today with a Microsoft twist — the episodes will be distributed through Microsoft’s platforms of XBox 360 Live, MSN and Zune. The deal between series creator/producer Felicia Day and Microsoft was announced on Monday.

Google Maps updated to emphasize Street View

Google Maps underwent some user interface changes today. The controls on the right-hand side now look cleaner and there is an easier way to enter Street View, Google Maps’ optional view that allows you to explore a location through real photos taken at street level.

Where'd the iTunes Plus area vanish to?

When Apple refreshes the iTunes store onTuesdays, I feel like a kid in a candy store. Each Tuesday, it adds new music, new movies and new deals on content. But today’s changes may have signaled the start of something much bigger: A revamp of iTunes Plus.