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Adam Marks's blog

GuttenPodder, the latest open source update based on drPodder 9

by Adam Marks Mon, 08 Oct 2012 5:41 pm EDT

GuttenPodder

First there came prePod, an amazing Hombrew podcast app by DrNull with features that rivaled any podcatcher on any other mobile platform. Then prePod was renamed to drPodder and graduated into the official app catalog. When the TouchPad and Pre3 were released, drPodder was not optimized to run on the larger screens and the original developer was had no plans to update the app to support these new devices. Luckily, it was released under an Open Source license so Bits of God Software took the code and modified it, adding in some additional features and fixed a few bugs, then released it as podFrenzy in the App Catalog. Although it got a few updates after its release, it--like  webOS hardware and TouchPad itself--was eventually left for dead. But fear not, development on this app has now been picked up by Walter Koch, who took up the open source code from both drPodder and podFrenzy, along with some homebrew patches from our forums, and has released GuttenPodder in our webOS Nation homebrew feed and is now available for download in Preware or webOS Quick Install.

GuttenPodder came about because Walter would use drPodder daily on his Pre3 and was frustrated with some of the bugs in the app and was missing some specific features. With the Open Source nature of both drPodder and podFrenzy, Walter was able to dig into the code, make those updates and then repackage it as a new app. While his work has obviously been focused on the features that he is most interested in on his Pre3, he has made sure to take on other's needs as well by supporting the TouchPad as well as fixing the podtrapper bug that was introduced in webOS 2.x but never fixed in the preceding apps. You can check out the webOS Nation GuttenPodder forum thread for a complete list of updates from drPodder, but be aware that this app is still in beta and it actively being worked on. In addition, he has a long list of ideas for additional features, such as a dockmode for Exhibition, playbackrate (although not currently supported under webOS) and media indexer for ebook import, but there are no guarantees that he will get around to these.

The current plan is for GuttenPodder to remain as a homebrew app only, but will always remain as a free app even if it eventually makes its way into the App Catalog.  If you like GuttenPodder and want to donate, Walter has asked us to direct people to purchase drPodder from the AppCatalog to give back to drNull, because without him, there would be no GuttenPodder.

Finally, if you are a drPodder or podFrenzy user and want to migrate your feeds to GuttenPodder, you can follow a similar produce was what we suggested for PodFrenzy.  One option is to use the import/export feature built into each of those apps, but this will not migrate over the status of each episode (new, downloaded, etc), nor will it copy over any of your downloaded podcasts. Luckily, the homebrew Save/Restore app is here to help with that. Keep reading after the break for those migration instructions.

File Explorer, a handy file browser for TouchPad and webOS smartphones 6

by Adam Marks Wed, 05 Sep 2012 8:22 pm EDT

File Explorer

If you need a file manager app for your webOS smartphone or TouchPad, there are only a few quality choices from you to pick from. With the latest crop of apps that have just been released to the catalog, there is one more for you to choose, and it should look relatively familiar. pcworldSoftware's latest app, File Explorer (incl. file editor), is a $0.99 app that is essentially a trimmed-down version of his Archive Manager app without the archiving and extraction functionally, but with a few additional goodies thrown in. The overall look and feel is identical, with checkboxes on the right side to multi-select files/folders and various buttons along the bottom to perform actions on that selection (you can also tap a file or press-and-hold a folder for a pop-up menu of actions).

A few small features that have been added over what Archive Manager does are the ability to copy multiple files/folders (you could previously only move or delete) and an information screen that shows the size, path, and last change date, as well as an ability to email a file. The biggest change is the inclusion of a basic text editor for any text file on your device. It even includes a "wrap" toggle to determine if the text should wrap around or extend off the page

Like Archive Manager, a single purchase will allow you to download on any smartphone running webOS 2.1 or higher as well as the TouchPad. As far as file managers are concerned, this is a pleasure to work with. It doesn't have some of the more advanced features that are included in the homebrew Internalz Pro, such as the freedom to see beyond just the USB drive or the functionality to install apps or patches, but the ability to perform actions on multiple files at once is worth the price of admission (and the beyond-USB view cannot be allowed in App Catalog apps). If you have already purchased File Explorer's older brother Archive Manager (currently $1.99 in the App Catalog), you just need to decide if those few additional functions are worth the additional ninety-nine cents.

6 Comments

Palm Profile backup failure class-action lawsuit finally paying out, three years later 11

by Adam Marks Thu, 30 Aug 2012 3:18 pm EDT

HP gavel

November 2009. The original Pre and Pixi were the only webOS devices on the market, with Sprint still the exclusive carrier in the US. webOS 1.3.1 was just released and there were under 500 apps in the App Catalog. And Palm's backup servers were suffering some major backup failures causing people's Palm Profile backup data to be totally or partially erased when trying to restore their data. Unlike subsequent times when the Palm servers went down over the next few years when no data was lost, this failure was widespread and caused significant losses of data. So much so, that a class action lawsuit was filed against both Palm and Sprint a few weeks later.

The case of Standiford v. Palm, Inc., and Sprint Spectrum, L.P et al., Case No. 5:09-cv-05719-LHK, United States District Court Northern District of California San Jose Division was settled back in November 2011, almost two years after the backup failures occurred. The settlement called for Palm (now HP, having been purchased over a year earlier) and Sprint to pay a total of $640,000 to be distributed as an online HP store redemption code or a Sprint bill credit. If you had a permanent or temporary data loss and had filed out the claim form before the May 29, 2012 deadline, you were entitled to either a $30 or $20 settlement, respectively, in the manner of your choosing. 

Now, a few months shy of 3 years after the backup failures, it appears as if those settlements were finally being paid out. This blogger - who had suffered a permanent data loss - received an email yesterday from settlement administration company GCG with the subject "Redemption Code for Standiford v. Palm, Inc. and Sprint Spectrum, L.P. Settlement" that contained an HP Official (online) Store redemption code worth $30 (you can read the full email after the break below). If you filed a claim but haven't received the email, be sure to check your spam folder. You can also contact the Settlement Administrator at the number listed in the email or refer to the official lawsuit website for additional questions.

So, does $20 or $30 on your Sprint bill or as an HP redemption code make up for your loss of data three years earlier?  Probably not, but the lesson learned from the original backup failures to always have multiple backups of your data and not rely on just a single source was truly priceless.  

SynerGV 2 bringing Google Voice messaging integration to webOS phones 9

by Adam Marks Wed, 29 Aug 2012 5:41 pm EDT

SynerGV 2 on phones

Touchpad owners who use Google Voice received a treat last month when SynerGV 2 was released into the App Catalog with synergy integration of Google Voice messaging and voicemail transcription within the stock webOS Messaging app. But webOS phone owners were still left using the original SynerGV app without the synergy integration service due to differences between webOS 2.0 and 3.0. With its latest update to version 2.0.8, Eric Blade, the developer of SynerGV 2, has now begun to add support for those messaging plug-ins for phones running webOS 2.1 or higher. Unfortunately, you won't find SynerGV 2 in the App Catalog just yet because the app itself isn't yet ready for webOS smartphones. The messaging plugins may work, but the app isn't formatted correctly and you can't access critical areas of the functionality.

Just because you can't load up SynerGV 2 in the App Catalog on your phone doesn't necessarily mean that you can't partake in its goodies. If you have a TouchPad to purchase the app and know how to homebrew, you can use Preware and App Tuckerbox to install it on your phone. Once installed, just open up the Accounts app and you should have an option to add a "SynerGV Google Voice" account using your Google email address and password. Be sure to allow the account to use both Contacts and Messaging when prompted.  Once synced up, you will be able to use send and receive messages through Google Voice and get your voice transcriptions without the need of any third party app.

Just as with the synergy service on the TouchPad, there are still a few limitations. While sending messages are instantaneous, there is no push service for receiving messages. Instead, it pulls down the messages based off a time period you set in the preferences section of the SynerGV 2 app (that part of the app still works).  To combat this, you may still want to use Google's official SMS notifications of new messages and then just respond using the SynerGV plugin service. 

In addition, while you can send a new message through Google Voice to any number that you manually type in, you will only be able to search for your Google Voice contacts by name, including via Just Type. If you have all your contacts already in Google, this is a non issue. But if you rely on your webOS profile or Facebook for your friend's numbers, then you are out of luck unless you manually type in their number or they initiate the conversation first so you just need to respond within that conversation.

If you decide to load up SynerGV 2 on your phone, remember that you are installing an app and service that is not officially released for your device. You are essentially a beta tester of the service until the time that the developer decides to release it into the App Catalog. However, if you are a Google Voice user and have either already purchased SynerGV 2 for your TouchPad or have $4.99 to spend, you may want to give it a shot. Even with it's shortcomings, having Google Voice messaging and voicemails integrated directly into the stock webOS messageing app is worth it.

9 Comments

Steps to reclaim your rightful Google search results page 29

by Adam Marks Mon, 27 Aug 2012 8:47 pm EDT

Steps to reclaim your rightful Google search results page

You may have noticed recently that performing a Google search on your webOS phone has looks a bit different than it has for the last three years. Instead of the typical smartphone-optimized page of search results, Google has downgraded its intelligence assessment of your phone and now routes us back to the basic mobile search results page instead, despite that fact that your webOS device is just as capable as handling the search results as an iPhone or Android device. Despite their efforts to bully us into submission, the webOS nation will always find a fix, workaround, or homebrew hack to get our devices working again. 

One way to get around this is to make Google think that your device is actually something else, like an iPhone. There is a homebrew fix for webOS 2.2.4 or 3.0 or greater posted by Donald Kirker on the WebOS Internals Wiki that will show you how to modify the "user agent" of your device, but make sure that you are comfortable performing these types of edits to system-files and knowing that there is always the possibility of things going wrong with your device. If you want an easier workaround that doesn't involve any homebrew hackery, and you have a webOS device running webOS 2.0 or higher, all you need to do is rummage around in our basket of webOS Nation tips to find just the right combination to solve this problem.

As it turns out, you only get the mobile-formatted search results page by performing a Google search directly from Just Type or from within the browser's built-in search functionally. If you go directly to http://www.google.com and perform your search there, you get the old search results page back. So, all you need to do is change your Just Type default search engine that handles the results from a direct Google search instead of a Just Type Google search. Unfortunately, it's not quite as simple as that, but it's not that complex either. Just follow the steps below on your webOS 2.0 or higher device to create an Open Search website plug-in based off a direct google.com search and then update your Just Type preferences, and you will be basking in your smartphone-optimzied Google results page glory in no time.

Archive Manager updated to open ZIP files directly from your email or browser 4

by Adam Marks Tue, 19 Jun 2012 8:09 pm EDT

Open zip file from emailArchive Manager by pcworldSoftware was the first application in the app catalog that gave the regular webOS user the ability to create or extract archive files (e.g. zip, rar, tar, etc), while also providing a rather fully featured file manager app, all for $1.99. This added some much needed functionality that has been missing is webOS, but to extract a file you needed to have it on your device already. That meant that if you received an email with a .zip file or wanted to open a .zip file from the web, you first needed to download the file to your device, load up Archive Manager, and then find the file to extract. That is, until its latest update to version 1.1.0.

With its latest update, pcworldSoftware added in the ability to open up an archive file directly from an email message or the browser and immediately extract it anywhere on your device. This is accomplished by registering Archive Manager as the default application for all archive file types, so whenever you tap on an email attachment archive or an archive file in the browser, it directly launches Archive Manager. You still need to extract the zipped file to your device to gain access to any of the compress files inside it, but at least it saves you a few steps in process.

Be aware that if you have a TouchPad, there are a few extra steps that you need to follow in order to register Archive Manager as the default file type due to some security restrictions in webOS 3.0. The developer makes this process extremely simple in the help section of the app, but you will need to have Preware installed on your device to accomplish this.

4 Comments

All "Make a Scene" apps on sale for 99 cents this week 5

by Adam Marks Fri, 15 Jun 2012 10:42 am EDT

Make a Scene apps

In our Best Apps for Kids roundup last month, we put a spotlight on Make a Scene Farmyard Lite by Innivo Ltd. This was a free version of a their Make a Scene Farmyard app that allows your little ones to create their own interactive picture using any of the 50 "stickers" of animals, people, fruits, vegetables, insects, and more, along with five different backgrounds and five different foregrounds to mix and match. And every time you place a new "sticker" the app will speak out what that item is, along with some animation and sound effects. Essentially, these apps give us modern day Colorforms for kids. And, in addition to their Farmyard app, there are also eight other Make a Scene apps, from Outer Space Adventures to your favorite Fairy Tales, along with an Animal Alphabet & Phonics app (although Animal Alphabets is not like the others, but rather just an app to learn about the letters of the alphabet and their sounds). 

Each of these apps are normally $2.49 (or $3.00 for the Fairy Tales app), but as you might have seen in the latest issue of the "HP webOS App News" email, these apps are currently on sale for just 99 cents each. Act quickly, though, as this promotion will not last forever; you only have until June 21st to pick up these apps for under a buck each! If you like these apps, you should also check out the Make a Scene website, where the developers have made available some extra free stuff like coloring sheets and a "Matching pairs" games with your favorite characters/stickers from most of their apps.

Direct lines to all nine Make a Scene apps: Outer Space, Polar Adventure, Jungle, Animal Alphabet & Phonics, Fairy Tales, Safari, Under The Sea, Farmyard, and Christmas.

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webOS 3.0.6 is available, but probably not for you 26

by Adam Marks Fri, 11 May 2012 6:14 pm EDT

webos 3.0.6 update

We first saw hints that an update for the TouchPad was in the works when app logs started showing devices running webOS 3.0.6, and now we have more concrete evidence that webOS 3.0.6 is real, courtesy of one of our readers who wishes to remain anonymous. His device got an over-the-air update to webOS 3.0.6 this morning, but chances are your TouchPad will not, at least not right now. As it turns out, his device is a TouchPad Go running on Palm's development server, which probably describes only a handful of devices that even exist.

So what goodies does webOS 3.0.6 hold? As it turns out, not a whole lot. In fact, our reader can not find a single noticeable difference between webOS 3.0.5 and 3.0.6, and the onscreen changelog does not provide any further clues aside from mentioning "a variety of software improvements." Is it just under-the-hood enhancements or security fixes, or is there more? Sadly, he did confirm that Twitter synergy integration was not included in the update. We will just have to wait until webOS 3.0.6 is officially released to find out, but at least it's comforting to  know that some support will continue for the TouchPad while we wait for the planned September release of Open webOS 1.0. Now let's get that webOS 2.2.4 (or 2.2.5) update for the Veer our as well!

Thanks anonymous!

26 Comments

Quick App: Super Ads XL 3

by Adam Marks Fri, 24 Feb 2012 1:07 pm EST

Super Ads XL

There are two reasons why people watch the Super Bowl: the football and the commercials. For this year's Super Bowl XLVI, advertisers paid an average of $3.5 million for a 30-second spot during the game. If you missed any of those commercials or just want to check them out again, you can now find many of them online if you know where to look, or you can use your webOS smartphone or TouchPad.

Super Ads by Aclass Apps has been in the App Catalog for webOS smartphones for a while now and lets you browse the commercials from the last few Super Bowls (although the latest Super Bowl has yet to be added), but it now has a big brother with Super Ads XL for the TouchPad. Completely rewritten in Enyo for the tablet, Super Ads XL is $1.49 and features all the commercials from the last 4 Super Bowls in one easy-to-manage place. You simply tap on the Super Bowl you want to view, find the commercial you want, and play it, all within the app. You can also "favorite" commercials for quick-access later by tapping on the big star next to the commercial

Super Ads XL is missing a few features that were present in its Mojo phone-bound predecessor, such as sharing (email, SMS, Facebook, etc) and search, but we have been told that those updates are on the way. In addition, the developer has plans to add a Villo chat room and is taking the app cross-platform through the magic of open source Enyo. In fact, it's already in the Chrome App Store and has been approved for the Blackberry Playbook.

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Enyo goes Android: Paper Mache on ICS 9

by Adam Marks Thu, 26 Jan 2012 1:44 pm EST

With yesterday's release of the Enyo development framework as Open Source, webOS developers now are able to take their existing Enyo code and repackage their apps to work on other platforms such as Android, iOS or even directly in the browser. Almost immediately after the Enyo open source announcement, we saw two webOS Enyo apps released on other platforms with Paper Mache on Android and FlashCards basically everywhere you have a browser. As luck would have it, Ryan Watkins, the developer of Paper Mache, was sitting next to me at the NYC webOS Developer meetup last night and I had a chance to discuss his thoughts on Enyo going open source, the overall porting process and what work he still needs to do to make Paper Mache

For those that don't know Paper Mache, it's an Instapaper client app that includes offline and background syncing, saving and syncing of your position in the article, and a multitude of preferences to make reading your articles a pleasurable experience (check out our App Review of Paper Mache for more info). After using the webOS app on the TouchPad and my Pre3 for months, my initial reactions to Paper Mache running as an Android app were extremely positive. I loaded it up on my TouchPad running Android CyanogenMod 7 and despite a little sluggishness, it worked extremely well. It looked and felt exactly like the Paper Mache that I have come to know and love, with two notable exceptions. First, instead of swiping down from the top-left to access the Application menu, I had to rely on the Android menu button in order to access it. And second, power-swipe (two-finger swipe) was absent from the app. Aside from that, it was Enyo in Android!

So how hard was it for Paper Mache to make the transition from webOS to Android? It turns out it was actually pretty easy and took less than a week to do, all done in his spare time, although Watkins said he could have done it in a day if he had time to just focus on that and not worry about "real life." The toughest part, in fact, was the learning curve of first getting familiar with PhoneGap, getting the Android SDK, learning what plugins were available and how to submit an app to the Android Marketplace, and then figuring out what needs to be done to modify the code to work on Android. Which, as it turns out, was very little coding for his version 1.0 port. Out of thousands of lines of existing code, he needed only to add a few dozen new lines, but that is what took him the most amount of time to figure out. As it turns out, webOS and Android aren't the same! The implementation of WebKit isn't the same between the two, the diversity of device sizes and resolutions is different, nor do they multitask the same way.

But, after a few days of modifying his code, Watkins was able to get Paper Mache running on both Android phones and tablets with relatively decent performance. He still needs to work on further optimizations of the code to remove some of the lag. He hopes future versions of Enyo will be able to provide a better optimized end result and that the need for these performance tweaks won't be as necessary. In addition, he still needs to figure out a way to ensure that Paper Mache can reliably perform background article sync, a hurdle thrown up by how Android multitasking differs from webOS.

Bottom line, though, is that in just a few days, Ryan was able to port his webOS Enyo app to Android and said that it would probably even take half the time if he were to do it again now that he is familiar the basic process of how it works. So if you want an amazing Instapaper app on Android that will also sync your reading position to your webOS device, check out Paper Mache.

And if you are a developer interesting in learning more about this process, you can find Ryan on twitter at @PaperMacheApp. Or you can also reach out to James Harris, the developer of FlashCards for his experiences - he's also on twitter at @erupnu has even set up some forum posts on the new EnyoJS forums to help port your Enyo app to iOS, the Chrome Web Store or for Windows Desktop.

App Tuckerbox public release brings App Catalog feeds back to Preware 40

by Adam Marks Fri, 06 Jan 2012 11:20 pm EST

Over the last 2 months, you may have heard some whisperings of a new app homebrew called App Tuckerbox, or maybe even saw a brief intro to in during PalmCast episode 151. It had been in a closed beta but was just released to the public tonight. What does it do, you ask? The simplest answer to that question would be that it once again allows you to gain access to the official webOS App Catalog feeds, including the Web and Beta feeds, directly in Preware. If you recall just prior to the TouchPad's release back in June, HP decided to take down the public App Catalog feeds that any site (including this one or Preware) could tap into in order to explore the App Catalog, Web Distribution, and Beta feeds. Since then, the only way to see what apps were available was to use the App Catalog app on your device.

However, App Tuckerbox is so much more than just a way to get those App Catalog feeds on to your device. It will also allow you to download any free or previously purchased app from the App Catalog directly in Preware. Not only that, but it has the ability to override any device incompatibilities that exist which prevented you from seeing a specific app on that device. In other words, if an app was never updated in the Catalog to work on the Pre3 or Veer or TouchPad--even if it would run just fine on that device--you now have the ability to override that restriction. If you're feeling excessively brave you can even attempt to install TouchPad apps on a webOS smartphone, but there are no guarantees of success there (nor support for any of these apps, since you're installing them on devices other than those that the developer officially supports).

So how does App Tuckerbox work? Once you download the app from Preware, the first thing that you will need to do is register your device with the App Tuckerbox servers (you will need to do this for each device you own). The app explains what it is doing and how your personal data (the only items App Tuckerbox needs are your profile email address, the device id number, and your profile authorization token) is encrypted on the server. It does not share your webOS profile password, your credit cards info or any other sensitive data. With the needed data, App Tuckerbox then prompts you to automatically configure customized Preware feeds (if you see a green button saying "Check Registration Status" press that first. You should then see the "Configure Preware Feeds" button). With those few pieces of data and your customized Preware Feeds, Preware now has the ability to send the proper authentication info to the webOS App Catalog servers to allow direct downloads from within Preware (you then have to manually enable the feeds in the Preware Preferences and Manage Feeds screens).

Once all set up, everything else is done in Preware and you never need to load up App Tuckerbox again. You will immediately notice that it will take significantly longer to load the feeds when you first open Preware, but that it because it has a lot more to load (ten thousand plus apps, depending on your configuration). As stated above, you can now download any previously purchased app or free app from the catalog. The beauty of this setup is that even though you are using Preware to download these apps, it is still doing it directly from the secure HP webOS servers and only for apps that you have already purchased. There should not be any additional piracy concerns for developers.

So, go ahead and download App Tuckerbox from Preware and start exploring those App Catalog feeds once more. If you have any questions, you can find the developer of App Tuckerbox at @apptuckerbox on Twitter or in our forums. In addition, they are looking for a website designer to work on www.apptuckerbox.com. Contact @apptuckerbox if you willing to donate your services to help create their site.

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Reminder: TouchPad early adopter $50 promo code expires January 1 25

by Adam Marks Fri, 23 Dec 2011 6:21 pm EST

With 2012 just around the corner, that means that you only have a few more days to spend any remaining balance on your TouchPad early adopter $50 app catalog promo. If you were one of those original TouchPad buyers in July or early August and haven't used up that promo code, don't forget to take advantage of that free credit before it expires on January 1, 2012. The promo code doesn't have to be used on the TouchPad or even on the same webOS Profile account that it was originally applied to, as it just requires any device running webOS 2.1 or higher (or lower, if you perform some homebrew workarounds)

Need some help decided which apps you pick up? Might we suggest you review the nominees for the webOS Nation Best of 2011 Awards, take advantage of Gameloft's current 99 cent game sale, or pick up some apps for your kids!

If you are not sure how much you have left on your promo code or have forgotten the code, you can check the balance by going to http://www.palm.com/profile (note: they’ve been having server problems recently, so if it doesn't work now, try again in a few hours) and logging in with your profile's email address and password. Towards the bottom of your profile page, you will find the promo code and its remaining balance. In addition, if you make any purchases using the code, your balance will appear on the receipt.

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No more free Touchnote postcards, paid option not forthcoming 23

by Adam Marks Mon, 21 Nov 2011 3:31 pm EST

When Touchnote released their webOS app last April to send postcards right from their webOS phone, HP announced that it would be paying for the first 50,000 postcards sent with the app. Instead of the normal $1.49 charge from the equivalent iOS, Android or Windows Phone apps or the Touchnote website, webOS users could easily upload their own images, add some text and address the postcards for free! Unfortunately, if you have tried to send a postcard over the last few weeks, you have been presented with the message above: "Bad News. No more free postcards. Palm paid for 50,000 and they have all been sent."

As one of those users who put a nice dent in that 50,000, to say that this was disappointing would be an understatement. It appeared as if we would have to start paying for our postcards like everyone else, right? Well, there was one really big problem, in that there was no place to enter any payment information into the app. And to our dismay, there is no plan to add that ability in the future.

In correspondences with Oded Ran, CEO of Touchnote (continue after the break for the entire letter), he made it clear that "as a small business, we only have limited bandwidth with regards to the number of platforms we can support fully" nd that they would be focusing solely on iOS and Android. There won't be a pay option added to the webOS app either, as Ran noted that it "would require a reinvestment of money and resource - something that we are currently unable to justify at the moment".

As the final nail of the coffin, the decision by HP to no longer release webOS hardware made the decision all that much easier for Touchnote. In a followup email, Oded added that once they "were informed that HP would no longer be releasing phones using webOS...we had to make a long-term decision about where to invest, and it simply didn't make sense to do so on a platform with a limited lifespan."

Yet another direct casualty of Leo and the Board's decision to cancel webOS hardware and the current uncertain future of webOS.

Quick App: Halloween Artist 9

by Adam Marks Sun, 23 Oct 2011 9:14 pm EDT

Just in time for Halloween, you can now carve a pumpkin on your TouchPad with Halloween Artist, by penduinbits. For just 99 cents, you have 4 different types of pumpkins to carve, with your finger acting as a virtual knife to carve the pumpkin. As you carve, each section is removed (without any of the mess of a real pumpkin) and initially replaced with a black area. Just keep carving away until your design is complete and then press the "Carve" button to add some three-dimensional cuts and a candle inside it for light. If you like the design, you can even Save a photo of it to your TouchPad.

While carving away, you do have the opportunity to undo prior cuts or clear out the design and start from scratch. You can also determine if you want to actually show a candle inside, as well as to choose if the light inside of the pumpkin flickers or not. Finally, the app comes set up for Exhibition Mode that carves an updating clock into the pumpkin, although you can decide to carve your own design instead. If you want to reactivate the clock mode after you started carving, just press "Clear" and then wait a few seconds for the clock to return.

Overall, this is a simple and fun app for Halloween. Kids can enjoy carving pumpkins all day and the Exhibition mode is a nice feature. It would be great to have some pre-defined shapes that you can use to carve the pumpkins from simple shapes to jack-o-lantern type eyes or mouth, and I would like to be able to turn the pumpkin for a full 360º of carving. However, those are more "nice to haves" than necessities, and we have already seen two updates to the app in the last week alone so maybe these features will be added shortly, too! So, go pick up the app and share some of your favorite webOS-themed pumpkins with us. Continue after the break for some screenshots and some carved pumpkins.

Quick App: podFrenzy 9

by Adam Marks Wed, 21 Sep 2011 10:23 am EDT

If you are a webOS user and like to listen to podcasts on your device, chances are you own drPodder, an app that has been around for almost as long as webOS has been. While it started as a Homebrew app (then called prePod) and eventually graduated to the App Catalog, it has unfortunately not been optimized to run on the TouchPad. Luckily for all of us, the original developer of drPodder, Jamie Hatfield, made it an Open Source app. Why is that lucky for us? Well, it allows for another developer to pick up the drPodder code and--with permission--update the app to work on the TouchPad! And that is just what Bits of God Software did!

Enter podFrenzy, an almost-clone of drPodder that now works full-screen on the TouchPad as well as on all webOS phones, too! Other than working full-screen on the TouchPad, podFrenzy has only a few minor tweaks to the drPodder code, but more enhancements are planned. Specifically, the developer wants to further optimize the app for the additional screen real estate that the TouchPad's 10 inch screen offers, instead of just running a bigger version of the phone-based interface. For the moment, the price of the app is 99 cents, the same as drPodder. However, once the TouchPad-specific updates of the app go live, the developer has said that the price will go up.

Also, if you are a drPodder user and want to migrate your feeds to podFrenzy, you can always use the import/export feature built into each of those apps. However, this will not migrate over the status of each episode (new, downloaded, etc), nor will it copy over any of your downloaded podcasts. Luckily, the homebrew Save/Restore app is here to help with that. Keep reading after the break for those migration instructions.