Stories by Tom Spring

Apple lifts App Store approval shroud for developers

Apple's App Store approval policy has dumbfounded mobile app developers for years, but that's about to change. On Thursday, Apple handed mobile developers a fig leaf in the form of a surprise statement that promised it would be more transparent about its App Store approval process. Apple also said it would loosen restrictions on tools used by developers to build apps for its mobile devices -- the iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch.

Good-bye to privacy?

New Yorker Barry Hoggard draws a line in the sand when it comes to online privacy. In May he said farewell to 1251 Facebook friends by deleting his account of four years to protest what he calls the social network's eroding privacy policies.

Apple hits three billion apps served milestone

Holy App Store! Apple is bragging that more than 3 billion apps for its iPhone and iPod Touch have been downloaded since the store opened on July 10, 2008. That's a lot of Super Monkey Balls, Facebook, and Google Earth Apple app downloads.

E-book piracy: the publishing industry's next epic saga?

As e-readers such as the Amazon Kindle continue to rise, so follows the publishing industry's worst nightmare: e-book piracy. For years e-book piracy was the exclusive province of the determined few willing to ferret out mostly nerdy textbook titles from the Internet's dark alleys and read them on their PC. But publishers say that the problem is ballooning as e-readers grow in popularity and the appetite for mainstream e-books grows.

Chrome OS may fail even as it changes computing forever

Google says it is working on an operating system designed for netbooks that boots in seconds, is impervious to viruses, and is designed to run Web-based applications really well. What's not to like? Plenty--if you're the number one software maker, Microsoft. Expect a showdown. Google faces an uphill battle rolling out its operating system, Chrome OS. The irony is, Google may not care if Chrome OS succeeds or fails. Here's why.

Bing vs. Google vs. Yahoo: feature smackdown

In the arena of world-class search, can Bing bring the hurt to Google and Yahoo? Microsoft's newest search engine comes packed with search tools such as an Explorer Pane for refining searches, Quick Previews for sneaking a peek at a site before visiting it, and Sentiment Extraction for making sense of product reviews.

Hands on with Microsoft Bing

At last, Bing has arrived. I tested a preview release of Microsoft's new search/decision engine, previously called Kumo, to see how well it compares. Here's a breakdown of its new features and how well they perform.

It's official: Bing is now Microsoft's search engine

Microsoft's latest vehicle for achieving the elusive goal of Web dominance is Bing. Previously known as Kumo while in development, Bing replaces Microsoft's Live Search brand and carries forward the company's strategy for taking on Google and Yahoo. Besides introducing a new look to Microsoft's search interface, Bing adds a spruced-up navigation for search results, including a new left-hand navigation bar, a hover feature that lets users preview Web pages before visiting them, and a categorized search feature that groups search results by topic category.

Vista Service Pack 2 now ready for download

Windows Vista Service Pack 2 is now available for download. The Vista SP2 update include new support for recording Blu-ray discs straight from the Vista OS, updated support for Bluetooth v2.1, and bug fixes that address slow shutdowns and mysterious crashes.

HDTV and Mobile Gear to Steal CES 2009 Spotlight

The tech-world's epicenter shifts to Las Vegas this week as the 2009 International Consumer Electronics Show kicks off. Over the next week expect a parade of shiny, tiny, and wireless gadgets from CES exhibitors -including a 3G watch-phone from LG Electronics, a wafer-thin TV from Samsung that's 6.5-millimeters thick, and an emphasis on emerging technology such as environmentally friendly green technologies and Wi-Tricity, a technology that allows wire-free power charging of small devices.

Ten cool Google Chrome tips and tweaks

My guess is most people don't use Google's new Chrome Web browser as their primary browser yet. Google still has a long way to go with the browser adding features and fixing problems. Nevertheless, I've collected what I think are some of the most useful tips and the most interesting tweaks for the Chrome browser.